The UK metals industry, including the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), has set out a strategy with the goal of revitalising the sector.
It comes as the industry has been rocked by the loss of major steel plants: Tata Steel is set to announce the axing of 1,200 jobs at its Scunthorpe plant while SSI confirmed the closure of its Redcar plant on Teesside, where up to 2,200 jobs are set to go, on 12 October.
The strategy, Vision 2030: The UK Metals Industry’s New Strategic Approach, comes from the Metals Forum, of which the BMRA is a member, and sets out the steps needed to boost innovation, create 150,000 new jobs and build a sustainable future.
The forum, which comprises associations, has established the UK Metals Council and involves individual companies to lobby on behalf of the sector and to back innovation, boost skills and support the supply chain.
The new strategy proposes:
- a review of procurement policy, with the aim of sourcing 50% of materials for new infrastructure projects locally by the end of 2016
- greater collaboration between Government and industry to boost agility and build fitter supply chains
- environmental assessment built into public procurement to drive towards a circular and more sustainable economy
- support initiatives for SMEs to help boost and manage risk in innovation through better collaboration
- a framework for encouraging talent into the industry, with a focus on improved training and raising awareness of apprenticeships for school leavers
Business minister Anna Soubry called the strategy an important contribution: “I have seen for myself how hard the sector is working in order to remain competitive in this challenging environment. This provides a timely and welcome analysis of the issues and the Government will continue to work closely with the sector.”
Jon Bolton, who chairs the Metals Strategy Steering Group, said: “Bringing this diverse but valuable sector together under a single banner, working in partnership with the Government and other key industrial sectors, will ensure that greater economic value is extracted from planned infrastructure projects and future industrial expansion.
“The metals contribution to the UK economy should be grown substantially, securing a bright future for a sector that is the backbone of the UK economy.”
The UK metals industry employs 230,000 people directly, with a further 750,000 jobs being supported by the industry and 11,000 companies contribute £200bn-worth of GDP to the economy.
- The Metals Forum is an alliance of metals industries employing nearly half a million people and comprises leading ferrous and non-ferrous trade associations