Oh dear, SOS, poor old UK steel industry? @BBCR4Today

Does Humphrys write his own drivel?

“Chinese dumping cheap steel” in our markets? WTF?! “Dumping” is pejorative and racist language. Sob stories of “our” families losing earners? Disgusting partisan political rhetoric. The Chinese are simply using the free-market as would we.

The problem is all markets being free.

“Parlous state” of UK steel industry? WTF?! Actually not remotely true. Efficiency and quality-wise UK steel industry is second to none in recent decades, both in basic steel-making in modern facilities and in the range of specialist steels and steel products. That’s why Tata, SSI and the like were interested in owning them. Problem is competitiveness of energy and labour and local HSE regulations in a global market.

The problem again is all markets being free.

Proud imperial heritage, used to be “exporter to the world”? WTF?! Maybe true, but irrelevant. Real issue is that steel-making is a strategic security resource. Do we really want to be incapable of producing our own steel, dependent entirely on foreign markets in times of security uncertainty? Clearly we can never expect to produce export steel scaled to satisfy Chinese construction bubbles, but it’s OK to expect we are capable of producing steel when we might need it.

Not all economic considerations are free market.

Somebody please read Paul Mason, and any non-autistic economist.

Map showing location of steel plants and mills in the UK.


red Integrated plants: combined steelmaking and rolling mills.
orange Other rolling mills.
magenta Coating plants.
light blue Wire plants.
dark blue Tube mills.

Only 7 Actual steel-making plants left before this latest crisis. At least 5 are owned by the groups announcing closures, cuts and administration. We may be down to only 2 or 3 ?

[Post Note : I should add, these job-loss figures are dwarfed by those lost from the oil & gas industry during the last two years, but that industry doesn’t benefit from the romance of “the valleys” or “grim up north” clog-wearing traditions, even though Aberdeen is a long way from London. Just as strategic of course, even if publicly unpopular fossil energy is transitioning to renewables.]

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