NEWS

Swedish Steel Plea For Teesside's Help Should Be Wake-Up Call For UK Government, Says MPI Boss

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016

Swedish steel bosses are looking to Teesside to help future-proof the country’s industry - now the UK “should be doing the same” says sector expert Chris McDonald.

The boss of Middlesbrough’s Materials Processing Institute (MPI) says UK steel can be the most advanced in the world - and Teesside could have the answers.

He claims Tata’s British steel plants including its Hartlepool pipe mill, which employs around 500 - can be “very profitable and successful” - and the only way for the UK to win the global race is to have the most advanced research and development.

But the next couple of weeks will be a “crunch” point as ministers make crucial decisions on how best to support Tata steel’s sale of its UK assets after pledging a package - worth millions - for potential buyers last week.

The MPI has been campaigning for the government to set up a ‘Materials Catapult’ - a network of technology and innovation centres, designed to boost UK capabilities.

Within the last week, MPI has been approached by Swedish steel bosses to help with the country’s 20-year plan to future-proof its industry.

Chris said: “Sweden is moving away from coal towards renewables and hydrogen.

“Last week we received a call from the Swedish steel industry, asking us to get involved.

“We have a lot of expertise in new energy technologies and hydrogen production and storage - and one of the most advanced steel economies in the world is looking to Teesside to deliver.

“The UK government should be doing the same.

“We have heard from ministers about co-investment in the steel industry, part of it being around innovation and research. “Teesside potentially has the solution for this.

“We don’t need to go around creating new facilities. The UK is lucky, we’ve got a world leading steel research centre and it’s here on Teesside. There is already a solution.

“Our ambition should be to have the most technologically advanced steel industry in the world - only then will we have the most profitable steel industry.

“In the next two weeks or so, we expect the government wants to make some commitments around the support it’s offering.

“Government helps other sectors around innovation automotive and aerospace, but they don’t provide a lot of support to material sector, where steel sits.

“They said they would help; we want them to follow through with their commitment.

“Our ambition should be to have the most technologically advanced steel industry in the world - only then will we have the most profitable steel industry.

“We need big government investments in energy and to invest in high-speed rail, all of those require advanced steel products that could be made here.

“If we don’t do, our hard-won research will be of benefit to other nations as we lose the race against Germany, or Japan, or wherever.

“Continuous, relentless innovation is what we need to stay ahead of the pack - and we’ve got a great opportunity to do that in the UK.”

 

Source : gazettelive.co.uk

Other News