Government pledges to open up infrastructure projects to use of UK steel
Steel industry leaders have welcomed moves aimed at making it easier for firms to bid for government contracts.
Business Secretary Greg Clark revealed the Government planned to use three million tonnes of steel in infrastructure projects by 2020, including the High Speed 2 rail scheme, Hinkley Point nuclear power station, and upgrading motorways.
Ministers announced changes so that steel requirements will be published every year, and procurement guidance will be extended to include projects below the current threshold of £10 million.
Mr Clark said: " The Government has been absolutely clear that we want to do all we can to support our world-class steel industry. These changes will ensure that UK steel companies can better plan for the long term, giving them an even greater chance of securing government contracts.
"We want UK companies big and small to be bidding for and winning government contracts which is why our upcoming Industrial Strategy is so important.
"This strategy will ensure we make the right investments in science, research, skills and infrastructure so that British industry wins contracts by producing the best goods and services."
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, said: "UK made steel should be the backbone of major projects, not by default but because of the high quality and competitiveness of the products made here in the UK.
"This announcement shows a much more positive approach to procurement and British content and jobs by the Government in thinking about the economy and UK industry's role in delivering successful projects."
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union said: " Using public sector procurement to deliver for the UK's steel producers has been a key demand of our Save Our Steel campaign and an issue we have consistently raised with government for many years.
"The changes the Government made last year were positive, a positive step in the right direction and showed they were starting to listen to the voices of steelworkers and their employers.
"Now we need to see today's changes put into practice so that UK companies are winning contracts and we can continue down the path towards a sustainable future for our steel industry."