Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling this week supported efforts at a European level to support steel making on Teesside. The European Parliament noted that European steel producers are suffering from a drop in demand and that action needs to be taken to support competitiveness. The steel industry employs 350,000 people across Europe and supports a further 7 million jobs. The motion to the European Parliament stressed the role of the steel industry in providing good quality jobs and that it should form the heart of economic growth across Europe.
The European Parliament has called for medium and long term initiatives to support the steel sector including measures to ensure that companies invest in research and development and employee skill renewal. The motion called for increased investment through the European investment bank and the streamlining of European funds such as the European Social Fund to support future competiveness. There was also a call to ensure that competition rules are reviewed to ensure that they do not adversely affect the efficiency of the industry.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP spoke in the debate on why she had supported the motion saying, “I come from a steel town in a region with thousands of jobs based in energy intensive industries, including steel, which underpin our regional economy.
In 2009-10, my local community fought hard to Save Our Steel and ensure a future for Redcar's blast furnace.
It was not just a fight about preserving our industrial infrastructure and assets - we need to be investing in their upgrade and environmental improvement, creating jobs in a sustainable industry long into the future and recognising that we will need ultra-low carbon steel.
I welcome the Teesside City Deal focused on building an industrial carbon capture and storage cluster - set to create 4000 new jobs and sustain 20,000 more in our local industries.
I have co-signed and strongly support the resolution because it sends a clarion call to the Commission and member states to involve the workforce and industry.
Anna Turley, Labour’s candidate for Redcar added, ‘Steel is so important to Redcar and I’m glad that Jude has been able to speak in support of the industry at the European Parliament. The steel industry works on a global level and that’s why we’ve got to work with our European partners to invest in the future.