West Midlands Metro Mayor Andy Street has signed the UK Steel Charter, committing to using UK-made steel from companies such as Scunthorpe-based British Steel wherever possible in key projects in his region.
The UK’s steel sector employs about 40,000 people directly and supports a further 50,000 in supply chains. Andy will throw down the gauntlet to challenge construction companies, businesses and other mayors to explore where the steel they purchase is made and if they are supporting homegrown jobs.
Mr Street is proving his commitment too. Under his leadership, the West Midlands Combined Authority is mounting an 860-tonne order for UK-made steel in the expansion of the Metro Rail for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill scheme.
Mr Street said: “By signing the UK Steel Charter, we’re signalling our commitment to back British steel – supporting well paid and highly skilled manufacturing jobs and training opportunities that will benefit local people right across our region.
“This initiative can help to increase the amount of high quality steel manufactured in Britain and increase the supply of British made steel contributing to key West Midlands projects.
“I very much hope our decision will encourage others to follow suit – impacting positively on the supply chain, our region and indeed the wider UK economy in the months and years ahead.”
Nick Haycock, General Manager, Mecegaglia UK, said: “We are proud to be the UK’s leading providers of precision carbon welded tubes, having been founded over 30 years ago. With year-on-year investment, Marcegaglia UK now produces 110,000 tonnes of welded tubes. With the recent and more substantial investment, Marcegaglia UK is making is a great opportunity for the UK and our local West Midlands region to boost jobs and economic growth as we develop our capacity.
“On top of this, Marcegaglia acquired upstream manufacturing facilities in Sheffield this year. This primary stainless steel making asset is worth several hundreds of millions to the UK economy. The investment in this facility means a return to full capacity of 500,000 tonnes of steel.
“The UK has now become the second most important country for the Marcegaglia Group.
Producing our steel tubular products here means UK-made steel is supplying national projects like HS2. It is now crucial to create a robust UK industrial strategy to support the competitiveness of the UK steel industry, to preserve and develop production and increase employment, also in view of the export flows requirements.”