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Government Must Save World Class British Steel To Avoid Importing Rails

21 May 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has written to the Government calling on Ministers to "do everything necessary to secure jobs at British Steel and safeguard the future of this strategically important business."

Cortes has written directly to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Greg Clark – after it emerged that British Steel is on the verge of administration.

Its main plant is at Scunthorpe where rails are produced. Overall – with another site on Teesside – 4,500 jobs would be at risk with more than another 20,000 in the supply chain.

In his letter Manuel Cortes writes that “British Steel has supplied Network Rail with more than half a million tonnes of high-quality rail over the past five years” - that’s 95 per cent of Network Rail’s requirement.

“In September British Steel signed a two-year contract extension to supply Network Rail with a further 4,000km of rail.”

Cortes goes on to point out that British Steel is “vital to the development, maintenance and growth of this country’s transport infrastructure as the only domestic producer of rail. It would be unthinkable to have to rely on overseas imports of rail in this safety-critical industry. If this Government is serious about industrial strategy then this is the time to deliver.”

Further to his letter Cortes has today said that “the Scunthorpe plant produces world class rails and that if the plant – a key part of a core industry – is not saved we will have to import rails while former workers languish on the dole queue."

Cortes has called for an urgent meeting with Greg Clark to discuss the points he raises in the letter.

Notes to Editors
The text of the letter is attached.   Cortes British Steel May 2019

Douglas Beattie

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