WGPlus (Archive)

Why the Government cannot just simply ‘Do Something’ about UK Steel Plants

EU State Aid rules allow fostering the long-term competitiveness & efficiency of steel manufacturing, but not supporting manufacturers in difficulties.   In particular, EU state aid rules allow support to steelmakers to make them more competitive in the long-term for objectives such as research, development & innovation.  The EC has under EU state aid rules approved national measures in several EU countries to compensate energy-intensive businesses, including steel companies, for their high energy costs, most recently as regards the UK in December last year.

However, in view of the chronic over-capacity of the steel sector, EU Member States and the EC have already since the 1990s agreed to prohibit rescue & restructuring aid to steelmakers in difficulty.  As past experience has shown, this type of aid distorts competition and risks leading to harmful subsidy races between Member States. It also doesn't help in the long run.

Researched Links:

EU News: Statement by Commissioner Vestager on EU state aid rules in the steel sector

EC opens in-depth investigation into Italian support for steel producer Ilva in Taranto, Italy

SEC orders Belgium to recover €211m from several steel companies within the Duferco group

IPPR:  A further 1,700 jobs could be lost in the supply chain of Welsh & English steel-making communities

Statement on the UK steel industry

TUC: UK government needs to save steel

Welsh Secretary comments on Tata Steel job losses

Steel workers retention plan

TUC: Government needs a more active industrial strategy to save UK steel

UK government secures EU compensation for Energy Intensive Industries

UK calls for emergency steel meeting granted

Scottish Steel Task Force

Government & Tata steel to provide support to Scunthorpe steel workers and local economy

One in six British steelworkers face losing their jobs, warns TUC

Summit to tackle impact of global steel challenges

Minister backs calls for greater action at UK level to protect steel industry

£80m support package for SSI workers and local economy

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