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Christchurch: Government urged to save British Steel

By Dan Teuton
25 June 2019

The boss of a leading structural steel company in Christchurch has urged the Government to save British Steel as time runs out for a takeover.

REIDsteel managing director Simon Boyd, who also sits on the CBI’s manufacturing council, warned that it would be catastrophic for the national interest if the company was allowed to die.

His comments come as British Steel’s fate hangs in the balance, with concerns that there is less than a week until a June 30 government deadline for offers for the stricken company.

Boyd said: “It would be catastrophic if British Steel was allowed to die. The focus has been on job losses and the blow to the supply chain but there would also be hugely damaging consequences for the national interest. Defence, infrastructure, construction and a whole swathe of manufacturing industries which rely on steel would be badly hit. Without our own blast furnaces, we would be reliant on imported steel and unable to supply the raw materials for these vital industries. There would be economic consequences and, God forbid, if the worst happened and there was a war we would be severely compromised.”

He added: “British Steel has been adversely affected by the UK’s membership of the EU with the impact of the Emissions Trading Scheme and enormous energy costs in comparison to other countries within the bloc, which have helped create an unfair playing field. There was no-one prouder than me when Tata Steel renamed Corus as British Steel. We must not let the company fail.”

As well as 4,500 jobs at British Steel, the GMB union has warned that the collapse could affect up to 32,000 jobs nationwide.

Global metals group Liberty Huse, India’s JSW Steel, Chinese firm Hesteel, French engineering giant Systra and Russian metals and mining group Evraz are among the firms reported to have been interested in British Steel and parts of its business.

Earlier this month Boyd attended a Brexit Party press conference in Scunthorpe when proposals included turning British Steel into a ‘John Lewis’ style company part-owned by workers.

REIDsteel is based in Christchurch, Dorset, and designs, manufactures and erects steel structures – including their cladding and glazing – across the UK, Europe and the world.

The 130-strong company has exported to more than 140 countries worldwide in a century of trading and has won the Queen’s Award for International Trade four times.

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