Greg Barker, the UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, visited Tata Steel’s Corby steelworks today for a meeting organised by Corby MP Andrew Sawford.
They were joined by Community union General Secretary Michael Leahy OBE and Community National Officer for the Steel Sector, Roy Rickhuss, in discussions with senior managers and employees about the steel industry and government policy on energy and climate change.
The visitors also had a chance to tour the operations of Corby’s 6-inch Tube Mill, which makes products for the construction as well as energy & power sectors, two of Tata Steel’s key markets.
Tim Morris, Head of Public Affairs at Tata Steel in Europe, who was also present, said: “The markets we serve, both at home and abroad, are intensely competitive. It is therefore vital that we have a competitive regulatory environment in which to operate. If legislation in areas that most affect us, such as energy, causes costs to rise significantly higher than those of our global peers, our ability to compete internationally will suffer.
“The UK’s energy costs are already much higher than those of our competitors elsewhere in Europe and further afield. We therefore welcome the initial steps the Government has announced, such as the Energy Intensive Industries package*, to mitigate this major competitive disadvantage, but much more remains to be done.
“Steel is a foundation sector, supporting much of UK manufacturing and construction. We look forward to maintaining a dialogue with our partners in government to ensure the British steel industry’s contribution to UK competitiveness continues.”
The Corby works is fed with steel strip produced at other Tata Steel operations, such as those in Port Talbot and Llanwern in South Wales. Last year the company completed a £240 million programme to install a modern, state-of-the-art blast furnace at Port Talbot, as well as a new energy-efficient gas cooling system, which together have made Port Talbot one of Europe’s most sustainable integrated steelworks.
Last month Tata Steel also completed the latest test campaign on an experimental iron making plant in the Netherlands that is piloting the development of a potential breakthrough technology to reduce steel industry emissions.
Tim Morris added: “Tata Steel has made a huge commitment to European steelmaking, particularly in the UK, where we fully support successive governments’ determination to meet the challenges of climate change and the energy crisis. But power represents a very substantial cost to us, and it is self-defeating to fight the battle against climate change at the cost of the UK’s foundation sectors.”
For further information, please contact Bob Jones on +44 (0)207 717 4532 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* In his Autumn Statement in November 2011 the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the intention to implement measures to reduce the impact of climate change policy on the costs of electricity for the most electricity-intensive industries, beginning in 2013. These measures are worth around £250 million over the Spending Review period. As part of this, the government has committed to compensate key electricity-intensive businesses to help offset the indirect cost of the Carbon Price Floor and the EU Emissions Trading System, subject to state aid guidelines.
About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With the main steelmaking operations in the UK and Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, lifting & excavating, energy & power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.