Nationalise British Steel, say Labour councillors

British Steel should be brought back in public ownership as part of a green industrial revolution, say Labour councillors in Sheffield.

By Lucy Ashton, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 28 June, 2019, 16:13
British Steel at Scunthorpe

The UK’s second-largest steelmaker collapsed into insolvency in May after the government rejected its plea for an emergency £30m loan.

Around 5,000 jobs directly, and many more among suppliers, are at risk unless a new buyer can be found over the next few days.

Labour says industries have been “stripped and scrapped in search of a quick buck” but claim 400,000 new jobs could be created if there was investment in green industries.

Coun Lewis Dagnall, cabinet member for the environment and climate change, said: “In order to avert climate catastrophe, we need to think very differently about the economy.

“Rather than austerity in the public and private sectors, we need huge investment in new industries, amounting to a green industrial revolution.

“We’ve seen in the case of British Steel how financial speculators try to strip and scrap industries that sustain thousands of families, in search of a quick buck.

“Bringing British Steel into public ownership would open the door to investment in innovative, low-carbon technology that would secure the future of the steel industry.

“Socialist ideas of public investment are crucial to developing a proper response to the climate and environmental emergencies.”

The Green Party said it was disappointed that Labour was pushing ahead with schemes which hindered efforts to tackle climate change.

Coun Alison Teal said: “Despite declaring a climate emergency, Labour continued with unsustainable plans to widen the ring road and renegotiated the Veolia contract, which we believe fails to enable residents and businesses to recycle waste effectively.

“The monumental cost of HS2 would pay for substantial improvements to local rail, which would have far greater benefits to the local economy and environment.”

The Liberal Democrats say they have a number of green policies at a local level to help the environment.

Coun Tim Huggan, shadow cabinet member for environment, said: “We would supply schools with air quality monitors to help educate and inform students and, through them, inform their families. And we want to introduce a Greener Sheffield Fund – an additional pot of money for local communities to decide how best they would like to invest in their environment where that’s street tree retention, cycle routes or recycling.”