Unite demands clear targets for use of UK steel in HS2 project | HS2

Union Unite is demanding that the government set clear targets for the use of UK-produced steel in the HS2 rail project, after it emerged that the Transport Department currently has none in place.

Responding to two written questions to Parliament posted by Labor MPs in December, Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson admitted there was “no formal target” for the use of British steel in its construction.

Despite the cuts in the original plan, HS2 is still an important part of the UK’s £ 96 billion integrated rail plan and will be the largest construction project in Europe, requiring millions of tonnes of steel to build the tracks, stations and tunnels.

Unite said the UK’s exit from the European Union should have made it easier for the government to ensure that UK products were used in infrastructure projects. Over 33,000 people are employed in 1,100 steel companies across the UK.

Questions about the supply of HS2 arose in October after it emerged that the French company Sendin had supplied the project with more than 2,000 tonnes of steel. At the time, HS2 said its subcontractor approached all suitable alternative UK suppliers, but none were able to deliver the necessary product on time. HS2 said 97% of all companies the project has worked with across its supply chains are UK.

“The government must immediately set clear targets for the use of steel in the UK in publicly funded construction projects,” said Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham.

“In the case of HS2, UK producers should have a primary role in steel production for the project. Doesn’t that make good economic sense? This failure of government procurement policies will be contested by my union. You couldn’t be reconciled, ”Graham said.

HS2 changes announced in November

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: ‘HS2 is a one-time investment in a generation in UK transport infrastructure and we expect it to have a lasting impact on jobs, skills and companies here in the UK.

“The government and HS2 Ltd have engaged heavily with the UK steel industry over the past five years to ensure they are in the best possible position to compete for contracts.”

Last week, the Guardian revealed that the UK steel industry braced for an immediate collapse in trade after the EU and US reached a deal to remove tariffs on a steel quota and aluminum imported from the block to the United States from January 1.

Tariffs will remain on all UK exports of steel and aluminum after UK government talks failed to secure a corresponding breakthrough.

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