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UK Steel Industry & Media Reporting

(152 Posts)
railman Wed 22-May-19 12:40:43

Watched with sadness the reports on BBC News about the eminent collapse of the UK steel industry.

The reporter stated that China has produced more steel in the past 2 years than the UK has in 149 years!!

Aside from the scant attention to detail, this hyperbolae does little justice to the innovators in the UK and Europe, who invented and developed the modern steelmaking processes.

I don't think the BBC had a true grasp of how important the UK's works at Scunthorpe, Sheffield and many others, have been to this global industry. In particular, the work done in Germany and at Barrow-in-Furness - where the works was the model used by Andrew Carnegie in the USA - production today is largely based on the technology we developed.

The BBC News reporter was clearly unaware of the history, and as a shout out to Barrow-in-Furness - most of the world's railways from Sweden to Australia and the USA, have had rails rolled in that town.

Still - I guess you can't show shiny graphics that demonstrate the 'puny' output of the UK compared to China, with that sort of data.

AIBU to assume that the bulletin was just the UK Government once again using apples and oranges comparisons to justify the loss of industry, and total lack of support for innovation.

Mycatisahacker Wed 22-May-19 13:32:08

Couldn’t agree more the journalist was ill informed. The situation is far more complicated.
I hope to god this industry is saved for those areas.

rosecarmel Wed 22-May-19 14:26:52

Incredibly sad .. There are ghost towns here (US) as well due to loss of industry .. As I stated in another thread, I grew up in a factory town, all but a few remain and even those are scheduled to be torn down .. In the state I live in now, in The Rust Belt, there are many towns impacted by such loss, here is one recent story ..

GabriellaG54 Wed 22-May-19 14:47:41

You cannot save an industry which cannot pay it's way.
It would be throwing good money after bad.
Two weeks ago the government advanced them £120m to pay the EU for carbon offsets, money the Scunthorpe works didn't have.
Can we, in all conscience, prop up a company which is losing money hand over fist?
I understand that they need orders and books have to be made up in advance to be able to buy at competitive prices but, the continuing instability of the steel industry goes back far further than any hint of Brexit.
You can obvs read all about it in the Guardian or Inde.

GabriellaG54 Wed 22-May-19 14:51:27

Detroit's been a ruined area since vehicle manufacturing left.

gillybob Wed 22-May-19 14:54:14

UK manufacturers on this scale cannot even hope to compete on a global market.

For a start the cost of the end goods (in this case steel) has to make a profit or break even after.... relatively high wages, employers NI, pensions (past and present), insurances (sky high in this kind of industry) rent, rates and god knows what else. There is no way they could ever compete with China.

gillybob Wed 22-May-19 14:54:47

Meant to add that I am truly sorry for all those about to lose their jobs.

GabriellaG54 Wed 22-May-19 15:10:26

Average wages are £36.5k.
Not bad for Scunthorpe where living costs are much lower than in the South. I hope there is some compensation able to be paid but, from a bankrupt company, I doubt it.
Let's hope the workers put something by for the leaner times.
The fact is, that world economies are changing apace and we have to deal with it.

rosecarmel Wed 22-May-19 15:18:53

Look at the auto industry bailout history in the US .. Also job growth numbers reported in the US aren't necessarily accurate, since many hold down 2 or more jobs ..

Mycatisahacker Wed 22-May-19 15:31:27

It’s as gillybob says really.

So so sad for those workers. Awful for the area.

crystaltipps Wed 22-May-19 16:11:33

Well they bailed out the bankers, Pity they can’t do it for the steelworkers. One of the reasons for the demise- guess what - fewer orders from Europe because of uncertainty over future tariffs.

GabriellaG54 Wed 22-May-19 16:19:00

No good trying to pin the flak onto Brexit.
BS was soaking up money like a sponge after the honeymoon period after they bought it from Tata.
2 weeks ago £120m paid by government to the EU as Scunthorpe couldn't meet it's obligations.
There is no room for sentiment where money is concerned, it's business.

M0nica Wed 22-May-19 16:47:29

The government could be pretty sure that the money given to the bankers would be repaid - and a lot of it has been.

The iron and steel industry for a long time has been a bottomless hole down which money is poured never to be seen again. In the past the iron and steel industry thrived because we led in innovation and we had, what were in their time, large efficient works close to the source of their raw materials. This no longer applies. To be efficient in a highly competitive market steel works have to be many many times the size of the British plant and have easy and cheap access to raw materials and, now, British steel works are too small to be viable and have to import most of their raw materials, both iron ore and coal, from other countries.

What was needed was for the money wasted in propping up the unproppable being instead spent on rebuilding, retraining and making these industrial towns attractive places for employers with lots of retrained workers willing to work and capable of doing it and good modern industrial premises for them to work in.

Supposing the £120 million had been invested in Scunthorpe itself and its inhabitants and not poured into a bottomless pit called British Steel think what it could have done for the town and its inhabitants.

jura2 Wed 22-May-19 16:52:43

Nigel Farage Tweeted in April 16, during the campaign - that we must leave the EU or the UK Steel industry will collapse! Project Fear, hey.

rosecarmel Wed 22-May-19 17:00:31

MOnica, agree rebuilding and retraining is necessary for what were once industrial towns to continue to thrive- Mining areas in West Virginia are currently transferring to wind and solar -

rosecarmel Wed 22-May-19 17:06:28

There may be no room for sentiment in business, but flat out abandoning citizens, there's no room for either- They are frequently left out of future planning- Again, due to the entanglement of buisness, government and greed-

GrandmaKT Wed 22-May-19 17:29:16

I was shocked that the closure of Jamie Oliver's 22 restaurants was rated as a higher (more important)news story than the collapse of British Steel on BBC. I guess it just underlines how much of a service-based economy we have become.

M0nica Wed 22-May-19 17:34:35

The UK steel industry will collapse whether leave or remain in the EU. Is he suggesting he will waste more tax payers money supporting the unsupportable instead of investing it in the towns and the people affected by this industry.

Sooner or later the government will have to stop propping the steel industry up and let it die, get it over with and all the money that they want to waste on a terminal industry can be invested in the workers instead.

varian Wed 22-May-19 17:37:44

It is sad that so many of Jamie Oliver's employees have lost their jobs, but of course the collapse of British Steel will result in many more job losses.

The BBC, run by people who seem to see news and politics as a branch of entertainment, will flag up the Jamie Oliver story because Jamie is a "celeb" who made his name on tv.

In addition, it diverts attention from the fact that the British Steel story is bad news about brexit and therefore does not suit the agenda of the Brexit Broadcasting Corporation.

Nandalot Wed 22-May-19 17:52:21

Poor Scunthorpe. 5,000 jobs will really affect the town. It is not just the direct jobs that are affected but the subsidiary ones, apparently up to 25,000 could be affected. It seems mad that we will now be reliant on foreign steel for any warships, planes etc. that need to be built!
Some things are more important than the bottom line. How much will unemployment, mental health problems etc cost the country? Surely it is better to have workers paying tax, spending money etc.

varian Wed 22-May-19 17:56:45

I do hope that liar Farage can't persuade these poor souls to support the very cause which has damaged their future.

rascal Wed 22-May-19 17:59:22

I agree too railman

Grandad1943 Wed 22-May-19 18:00:54

Everyone should face up to the fact that Brexit has played a major part in the financial collapse of British Steel. The companies overseas customers have not been ordering steel from the Scunthorpe plant because no one can be aware of whether tariffs will apply to the companies products by the time that orders are fulfilled. To add to the foregoing, there has also been the instability of the pound currency in recent months, again because of Brexit.

In that, no company can be expected to trade successfully in a highly competitive industry such as steel manufacture with the above instabilities hampering all it carries out.

Therefore, the shambles this government has made of Brexit can be cited as a major factor in the collapse of British Steel and the probable loss of up to twenty-five thousand jobs.

However, again we witness Brexitiers on this thread "burying their heads in the sand" and being in denial that the way they cast their vote in the referendum has played any role in the loss of the jobs.

notanan2 Wed 22-May-19 18:02:20

" 'cause history" isnt a business plan. The government can't make it so. Neither can the media.

Nobody can deny the historical relevance of UK steel but that cannot be a reason to ignore the issue of viability.

The steal industry is not a museum.

gillybob Wed 22-May-19 18:24:00

I don’t see how you can blame Brexit for the collapse of the steel industry in the U.K.

It is the inability to compete on the international stage that has done for the steel industry . How on earth could we even begin to compete with China ? The UK’s employment and other costs are massive in comparison.