UK business secretary calls for emergency EU meeting to discuss steel industry crisis

<p>The industry has announced thousands of job losses in recent weeks.</p>

Business secretary Sajid Javid has called for en Emergency EU meeting to discuss the crisis.

Mr Javid's call for action comes after thousands of job losses were announced across the industry on the back of the collapse of SSI in Redcar and cutbacks at Tata Steel in North Lincolnshire and Lanarkshire.

He will meet with European commissioners on Wednesday (October 28th) to discuss the sector and look at ways to deal with the urgent situation.

Steel workers are also preparing to lobby MPs. The industry says cheap Chinese imports and high energy costs are to blame for the collapse in steel prices, which has led to the job losses.

Bringing steel to the top of the EU agenda

Mr Javid will meet with industry and international market commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska and commission vice president Jyrki Katainen. During the talks, he also is expected to raise concerns over unfair steel imports with EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malstrom.

He said he wants to see steel brought to the top of the EU agenda.

"We cannot stand by while the steel industry across Europe, not just in the UK, faces such unprecedented challenges," Mr Javid explained.

"The government wants to work with the EU and our European partners to do all we can to support our steel industry," he added.

Compensation for energy-intensive industries

High energy costs have been a problem for the steel industry and the government has said that Mr Javid has had positive talks with the competition commissioner regarding a compensation scheme for energy-intensive industries.

The scheme is currently awaiting EU state-aid approval and is expected to be introduced in April. However, the government says it is hopeful of movement on the issues within weeks and that means it could be introduced earlier.

Workers from some of the largest steelmaking communities like Teeside, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and south Wales are planning to lobby MPs at Westminster on Wednesday. The main steel union has also called for a meeting with the government to discuss the ongoing threat to jobs.

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