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Set targets to use more UK steel on HS2 rail link, union urges

A leading union has accused the government of failing to ensure the HS2 rail project uses steel produced in the UK.

Unite said he was “alarmed” by information revealed in a series of parliamentary questions tabled by Labor MP Mick Whitely.

His original question was: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his department has targets for the use of UK steel on HS2 projects throughout the life of the project?” “

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Unite said the answer was that the Department of Transportation (DfT) had not set any targets.

Another question from Mr Whitely said: “What proportion of steel used in the construction of HS2 has been produced in the UK as of November 30, 2021?”

The response was: “HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport are committed to working with the UK steel industry to ensure they are engaged, informed and ready to seize the contract opportunities that will be generated by HS2.

Unite said the DfT’s responses match the concerns that UK steel producers have expressed to the union, saying little to no effective effort is being made to ensure contractors hired to build HS2 buy UK steel .

As a result, much of the steel in the project is purchased from foreign suppliers, the union said.

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

“In the case of HS2, UK producers should have a primary role in steel production for the project. Surely that is good economic sense?

“Unite is committed to defending the jobs, wages and conditions of its members. Thus, this failure of government procurement policies will be challenged by my union. You couldn’t catch up to him.

Harish Patel, Unite’s Country Manager for Steel, said: “Steel is a key commodity industry and it is absolutely essential that it receives practical support from the government.

“It should start by ensuring that government funded projects always buy UK steel wherever possible.

“Steel workers across the UK, many of whom live in Red Wall seats, will be alarmed and frightened by the government’s inaction.”

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 resources. 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.”