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British Steelmaking

Volume 612: debated on Tuesday 28 June 2016

Crossrail, Europe’s biggest construction project, uses 7,000 tonnes of almost exclusively British steel. Network Rail sources 96% of its steel rail from Britain and it is all made in Scunthorpe—that is 120,000 tonnes a year for the next six years. We have changed the procurement rules so that wider social and economic factors are taken into account in public procurement, both locally and nationally, giving UK steel every chance to win contracts. In fact, it would be almost impossible not to buy British steel.

North Cornwall has two new possible proposals for branch lines, one in Wadebridge and the other on the Okehampton link. Does my right hon. Friend welcome those proposals, and does she think, in the light of the recent EU referendum result, that it would be beneficial for British steel to be used in every new railway construction across the whole country?

We have changed the procurement rules in relation to Government funding, but there is really no excuse. We know how brilliant British steel is—[Interruption]—especially when it comes to the construction of railway lines. It is the best steel in the world, which is why so many people buy it when they are constructing rail lines.

I welcome the Minister’s comments about UK steel, and Scunthorpe steel in particular. What is she doing to ensure that there is a clear pipeline of infrastructure projects in train so that the correct capacity is put in place for creating the steel for those projects?

I am grateful, as ever, to the hon. Gentleman for his question. One of the things that will certainly take place today is the Secretary of State leading an extremely large meeting, as the hon. Gentleman might imagine, of all the key players in British industry, following last week’s vote. One of the things that we have already discussed is the need to make sure that we address—if at all possible, and if we can really get determination—huge infrastructure projects. Whether it is HS2, a third runway or whatever, it is incredibly important that we make the very best of what has been a very bad decision by the British public, if I may say so.