Steelwork sector launches ‘manifesto’ for industry ahead of general election


Category: General

The UK structural steelwork sector has launched its manifesto for the sector at an event in the House of Lords, urging sitting and prospective politicians to take action to protect and grow the industry.

The UK steel sector is worth approximately £1.6 billion per year and employs around 60,000 people in the UK. The British Constructional Steelwork Association’s (BCSA) manifesto includes a range of measures which it believes are necessary to both sustain and promote its members.

The manifesto includes five measures:

1. End cash retentions

  • Cash retentions are monies held in case of a building defect. Sometimes these are not released until the end of the project, which could be years from when our members completed their element of the job.
  • They stifle cashflow for companies who could be investing in growth, increasing outputs and contributing further to the economy.
  • Retentions damage smaller businesses in the supply chain.

Our ask of the Government: Ensure all rules are followed and project bank accounts are used on all public projects.

2. Public project procurement

  • Ensure UK companies are prioritised on all public funded contracts such as HS2, which will spur the economy and boost national social value chains.
  • Ensure social value assessments in the procurement process are cascaded down the entire supply chain, not just tier one contractors.

Our ask of the Government: Ensure the Government Procurement Policy is monitored throughout the supply chain.

3. Fit for purpose apprenticeships to meet the growing skills gap

  • Jobs in the constructional steelwork industry are relatively highly paid but relatively low-skilled. Further education colleges and apprenticeship providers are given a perverse financial incentive to prioritise level 3 over level 2 apprenticeships, even though there is more demand for the former.

Our ask of the Government: Work with the industry to develop a fit for purpose apprenticeship scheme, which is appropriately funded.

4. Access to finance to innovate

  • For the UK Government to see an increase in productivity, companies need access to finance, to enable investment in the latest technology, manufacturing equipment and techniques.

Our ask of the Government: Encourage Government Departments and financial institutions to support steelwork contracting companies so that they can deliver the increase in productivity we need.

5. Support for the steelmakers – UK first

  • Without Government support for steelmakers to decarbonise and invest in decarbonisation technologies, more steel will have to be procured from overseas to meet net-zero commitments.

Our ask of the Government: Commitment to extend the national grid to provide the power for electric arc furnaces in the UK.

Dr David Moore, CEO of the British Constructional Steelwork Association, said, “The UK steelwork sector is, literally and figuratively, an economic building block. It is both the fabric of our growth and development, and has the potential to be a booming industry creating jobs, boosting GDP and delivering opportunity. The industry does not operate in a vacuum and there are simple measures that our politicians could take, which would be a real shot in the arm for our sector. It is our hope that a future government, of whatever political persuasion they may be, will recognise both the value and potential of the constructional steelwork industry and take action the action we need to flourish and grow.

Download a copy of the Manifesto  

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BCSA Manifesto Constructional Steelwork

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