UK steel industry welcomes budget infrastructure boost but disappointed by inaction on 'fundamental weaknesses'

The UK steel industry has welcomed a boost in infrastructure spending in the latest government budget, announced on March 12, but expressed disappointment about missed opportunities to tackle weaknesses in the sector.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced investment of £640 billion ($786.2 billion) in roads, railways, communications, schools, hospitals and power networks across the United Kingdom by 2024-25. Part of this includes improvements to rail services, including £20 million for the Midlands Rail Hub project, and a commitment to Manchester-Leeds rail link and HS2 - a high-speed railway in the country that will link will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds via a new "Y"-shaped network of 225 mph track. The government will publish a National Infrastructure Strategy in the spring. The budget document reports that “by the end of the parliament, public sector net investment will be triple the average over the last 40 years in real terms.” The UK produced 7.2 million tonnes of steel in 2019, down from 7.3 million tonnes in 2018. While this investment was welcomed by the UK steel industry, the budget failed to address some of the key weakness of the...

Published

Carrie Bone

March 16, 2020

16:28 GMT

London