The beleaguered metal industry has spent an uncomfortable few months under the spotlight. An increase in metal theft has focused the minds of householders, businesses and the police, not to mention formidable forces such as the church.
Inevitably, it has become a significant issue for the Government, and is one that it must be seen to solve swiftly. Its solution is to ban cash transactions at scrap merchants.
The difficulty is that this ‘common sense’ approach - at times seemingly unencumbered by an understanding of the industry - could, in the worst case, make the problem worse by driving more trade underground.
Like it or not, the Government must be seen to act; doing nothing is not an option. It is in everyone’s interest - including the many metals businesses that themselves are victims of theft - for the problem to be tackled.
If the metals industry is to be heard, it must present itself as part of the soltion, speaking with one voice and offering answers as well as highlighting the flaws in the Government’s approach.
It also means taking every opportunity to underline the professionalism of the modern industry. First priority must be ensuring that all sites meet the 29 February deadline to ensure they have a manager who has passed the Continuing Competence test. Without this, they are in danger of operating illegally, which is a great risk to them and the entire industry.