Tories shun our steel industry over HS2 railway

George Osborne has offered £11.8bn in railway construction contracts to the Chinese, while our steel industry is facing a crisis. The planned High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link will connect London, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester.

The UK steel industry is in trouble: 2,200 jobs have been lost in Redcar after the closing of SSI, and a further 1,200 were lost at Tata Steel. One in six steel jobs is now at risk. A big problem is that our steel industry cannot compete with China, which has been steel ‘dumping’, or overproducing steel and then selling it off at a loss, because of sluggish domestic demand.

With HS2, British jobs for British infrastructure seems like a fair policy, when so many are at risk in the steel industry. Especially as China maintains an authoritarian one-party state, placing arbitrary restrictions on expression, assembly, association and religion, while outlawing independent labour unions and human rights organisations. This is coupled with a terrible human rights record, which Jeremy Corbyn raised during Xi Jinping’s recent visit. Then again, the Tories haven’t been showing much care for democracy or human rights here in the UK.

cameron ipa

So, why are the Conservatives so eager for Chinese investment?

Well for one, they want to strengthen links to the newly created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This investment bank differs from the World Bank as it puts China at the foreground rather than the US. The Conservatives want to cosy up to this new economic power, despite frowns from the White House. Additionally, the HS2 contract offers come alongside China taking a one-third stake in a £24bn nuclear power station to be built in Hinkley Point. If HS2 is to deliver its goal of 250mph it will need access to a huge new power source, so perhaps the two sales would complement each other.

The Tories should stop grovelling to the Chinese and start considering their own domestic problems. The Italian government has supported one of its steel plants with an €100m (£74m) subsidy, yet our government maintains that its hands are tied. How can Osborne speak of a northern powerhouse while letting key industry jobs fall in Redcar?

Read on...

This is not the first time the government has hung our steel industry out to dry. In 2012 a £790m contract for 37,000 tonnes of steel was awarded solely to Chinese and European firms.

The steel crisis today could have knock on effects for the wider economy, with industry experts warning that the resurgent automotive sector could suffer a major setback as a result. The automotive sector relies on high quality – rather than cheap Chinese – steel. The crisis also puts small businesses who rely on two or three major UK steel contracts at risk of collapse. The HS2 contracts are an opportunity to squeeze some much needed life back into our steel industry, help curb further economic repercussions and create jobs.

Sign this petition to call on David Cameron to take action.

Embedded image via Twitter

Featured image via Twitter 1, 2


We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed