Today at Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked David Cameron if he will put pressure on the EU to reach a decision on the Energy Intensive Industry compensation scheme so that state aid can be given to the Dalzell and Clydebridge steelworks to save Scotland’s steel sector and jobs.
The UK Government aims to have the scheme implemented by April, 2017. Given that steeworkers may face redundancy, I pressured the Prime Minister to implement the scheme as soon as possible:
Despite the ongoing efforts of the Scottish steel taskforce, my constituents at the Dalzell steel plant and the neighbouring Clydebridge works are starting to receive redundancy notices. Given the urgency of the situation, will the Prime Minister put pressure on the EU now to reach a quicker decision on permitting the energy intensive industries compensation scheme? If such permission is granted, will he also commit to implementing the scheme as soon as possible to provide a much needed breathing space for our steel sector and to give some hope to my constituents this Christmas?
The Prime Minister responded:
The hon. Lady is absolutely right to raise this. We are working as hard as we can in Europe to try to get the energy intensive industries plan cleared. I can confirm to her that as soon as it is cleared, the money will be available for British steelmaking companies. We expect this to be in place no later than April 2017, but it should be much earlier than that, and we are working round the clock to try to get that done.