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Industry positivity after steel summit

Steel industry bosses were positive last week after a summit with Peter Mandelson and All Party Parliamentary Steel and Metal Related Industry Group.

Focusing on the industrys long and short-term difficulties, industry representatives pushed urgent action to stimulate steel demand, assistance with trade credit insurance, security for energy purchases and prices, and the retention of skills within the industry.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said: The Government has announced a number of measures for industry and discussed today how best to face the future. In the long-term we need a new, more active industrial policy. New Industry, New Jobs [a Government report on boosting industry in the recession] sets out how a smarter and more strategic approach from Government working with industry- can help us boost our capacity to commercialise new technologies, equip our workers with the skills we need and ensure that viable and innovative firms, and that includes the steel industry can compete with the best.

Chaired by MP for Newport East Jessica Morden, the key aim of the summit was to preserve jobs and skills, also focusing on the Corus Teesside plant. This plant is currently in trouble due to its main buyers wishing to terminate a contract essential for the retention of the plant.

Corus chief executive Kirby Adams said: The steel industrys consumer base has been decimated through the knock-on effects of a crisis in the financial markets. What we have emphasised to Lord Mandelson today is the need for accelerated government investment to increase demand in steel-consuming sectors. Another key requirement is that the Government should take immediate steps to restore access to credit for both our suppliers and our customers to normal levels.

MP for West Bromwich West and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Steel and Metal Related Industry Group Adrian Bailey added: This summit allowed key representatives from the industry to have a personal dialogue with the Minister on vital concerns and I know this has been appreciated across the board. We look forward to the follow up meeting before the summer recess.

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