The threat of a no-deal Brexit from PM Boris Johnson is threatening our economy and manufacturing sector. Johnson must be stopped and a Steel Sector Deal must be implemented.
SNP CALL ON TORIES TO FOLLOW SCOT GOVT LEAD AND ACT TO PROTECT VITAL STEEL INDUSTRY
The SNP has warned that the Tories damaging Brexit obsession and failure to get on with the day job is actively jeopardising businesses and putting at risk thousands of jobs, following reports that the UK’s second largest steel producer is on the brink of collapse.
British Steel faces the prospect of calling in administrators today unless the Tory government accepts its request for a £30million emergency loan after citing “Brexit-related issues”.
The firm has a workforce of around 5,000 people as well as supporting a further estimated 20,000 jobs in its supply chain. The impact of a potential collapse could also have a knock on effect on steel businesses in Scotland.
Leading on an Urgent Question on British Steel in Westminster today, SNP MP Marion Fellows called on the Tory government to follow the lead of the SNP Scottish Government to step in and provide support for the steel industry and to protect the thousands of jobs that are on the line.
Commenting, Marion Fellows MP said:
“The reports surrounding the future of British Steel are deeply concerning and it is vital that the Tory government urgently steps in to provide the emergency financial support being requested by the firm.
“Thousands of jobs are on the line, the Tory government cannot sit idly by. It must act now.
“With British Steel citing Brexit-related issues, it is clear that the Tories’ obsession with Brexit and failure to get on with the day job is actively jeopardising jobs and businesses.
“In stark contrast to the chaos consuming the Tories, when Scotland’s steel plants faced closure the SNP Scottish Government took decisive action to secure a new owner, and the steelworks at Dalzell and Clydebridge have reopened.
“The Scottish Government has already proven its commitment to steel after successfully securing its future in Scotland, and now we need to see action from the UK government to show that it cares about this vital industry.
“Rather than standing up for Scotland’s interests – or the interests of industries across the UK – it’s clear that the Tories are only interested in infighting and petty leadership battles.
“Time and time again, warnings from businesses over the damaging impact of Brexit have been ignored and throughout the entire Brexit process Scotland’s voice and interests have also been ignored.
“The SNP’s focus this Thursday in the European elections is on protecting Scotland’s interests. A vote for the SNP is a vote to make clear Scotland says No to Brexit.”E
Brexit and the UK Government’s haphazard handling of it is resulting in uncertainty for British Steel which is causing uncertainty for businesses in their supply chain as well as workers in affected communities.
The Scottish Government stood in to secure a future for Scotland’s steelworks and jobs. Liberty Steel took over and they are taking the appropriate steps to keep production going. But many steelworks elsewhere in the UK are facing closure due to a Tory Brexit and inaction. Solidarity with those communities.
The UK Government has provided sweetheart deals to Nissan but is leaving Scottish industries in limbo. To the Tories, industrial jobs are expendable. Especially manufacturing jobs. We have to build a diverse economy fit for a diverse workforce.
The Tories claim to be the party of businesses, but the Under-Secretary’s response shows that they aren’t grasping the concerns of businesses and trade unions alike.
Last Friday, I spoke on BBC Scotland about Trump’s steel tariffs which will only harm industry and workers here and in the USA. The UK Government must stand up for steel like the SNP has and arrange whatever financial or other support it can offer to keep the steel industry viable.
It is positive that tariffs will be reassessed following talks with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Junker. But this is short on detail and Trump is known to U-turn in a heartbeat. A tit-for-tat trade war should be avoided, but the UK and EU must be prepared to do what it needs to protect industries and jobs here.
The UK Government must deliver financial and other forms of support to ensure the Scottish steel industry remains viable and is able to mitigate the fallout of a potential trade war. The Tories have always viewed industry, such as Ravenscraig steelworks, as expendable. They need to show they care about manufacturing and not just the financial sector.
Marion Fellows, the MP for Motherwell and Wishaw – home of Scotland’s last remaining steel plant – has today called on the UK Government to provide support to steelworks affected by Trump’s steel tariffs.
Yesterday Trump agreed to “reassess” his 25% tariffs on European steel imposed earlier this year following trade talks with the EU’s Jean-Claude Junker.
President Trump tweeted yesterday ahead of the talks that the EU must “drop all tariffs, barriers and subsidies” only hours after his administration committed $12bn (£9.1bn) of subsidies to US farmers to protect them from a trade war.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
Trump’s tariffs will only harm industry and workers here and in the USA. The UK Government must take action and stand up for steel like the SNP has by ensuring support for steelworkers here.
Trump says he wants the EU to drop subsidies only hours after committing billions to US farmers to protect them from the EU’s own retaliatory tariffs. His approach is do as I say – not as I do.
He has said he will “reassess” the tariffs, but this is short on detail and he is known to U-turn in a heartbeat. We need the UK Government to act urgently to protect the industry and workers and mitigate against the fallout of a trade war.
Trump’s tariffs are a blow to free-market Brexiteers who argue that the US will welcome a trade deal with the UK after we leave the EU. The stark reality is that President Trump is not open to negotiate unless he is the only one who stands to benefit from a deal.
MP CALLS ON UK GOV TO COUNTER TRUMP TARIFFS AND FOR EMPLOYERS TO IMPROVE WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH
Marion Fellows, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, this week met with Steve Farrell – Community Union’s Regional Secretary for Scotland – to discuss Trump’s steel tariffs, the Dalzell plant and also mental health in the workplace signing Community’s Mental Health Charter.
Trump imposed 25% tariffs on European steel earlier this year with the EU responding by imposing their own tariffs on US steel and a number of other products including orange juice, tobacco, bourbon whisky, makeup, jeans, and motorbikes.
Marion also continued her mental health campaign by signing Community’s Mental Health Charter which commits employers to “tackle stigma”, “challenge discrimination”, “promote equality of opportunity”, “encourage wellbeing” and “raise awareness” of mental health and services. She has encouraged other employers to meet the Charter’s calls.
Commenting, Marion said:
It was a pleasure to meet with Steve Farrell to see how I can continue to support the local and national steel industry in Scotland. The SNP stood up for steel before securing a future for Dalzell and we are continuing to stand up for steel now.
Trump’s tariffs will harm industry and workers here and in the USA.
Tariffs are a blow to free-market Brexiteers who argue that the US will welcome a trade deal with the UK after we leave the EU. The stark reality is that President Trump is not open to negotiate unless he is the only one who stands to benefit from a deal.
The EU is right to impose our own tariffs to protect industry here. The UK Government must follow suit and provide support to steelworkers in the UK who may be affected.
I agree with Community that we must also ensure that trade is fair and we prevent the European market from being flooded with cheaper foreign steel which undermines the industry here.
On Mental Health
I was glad to discuss the important issue of mental health. Stress is one of the main reasons for absenteeism. We need all workers to be supported by their employer in the workplace.
All workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and prevention is always better than cure. Employers have a responsibility to take action.
I am leading by example by ensuring my office meets the Charter’s calls and I encourage every employer to ensure the same protections for their workforce.
CALLS FOR ACTION ON US STEEL TARIFFS
Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has called on the UK Government to “stand up for steel” after Trump imposes a 25% tax on steel from the EU.
Trump has applied tariffs to stop Chinese steel from undercutting domestic manufacturers and after the EU failed to negotiate a deal with the USA before the 1st of June deadline.
UK Steel says that around 7% of its exports are sent to the US. Plate steel, like that produced in Scotland’s last remaining steelworks at Dalzell in Motherwell, is likely to be impacted.
Mrs Fellows fears tariffs will risk jobs in Scotland and across the UK and has called on the Prime Minister follow the Scottish Government’s lead and take action to protect and grow the sector in light of Trump’s tariffs.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel imports from the EU will hurt the sector here in Scotland and across the UK.
He is attempting to block highly subsidised Chinese steel from undercutting domestic businesses – and we should seek to do this also – but it makes no sense to cut off steel manufacturers here in Scotland.
This is yet another blow to Theresa May and her supposed ‘special relationship’ with the USA. Her attempts to cosy up with right wing Trump have made the UK look weak and desperate. Her hopes of preferential treatment post-Brexit are shattered.
The Scottish Government has already proven its commitment to steel after successfully securing Dalzell’s future. We need the UK Government to show that it cares about manufacturing jobs just as much as it cares about banking.
It will not do to allow the market to simply sort this out. The PM must stand up for steel and protect and grow the sector by using domestic steel in public contracts and providing further support to reduce energy prices and costs for domestic manufacturers.
MP MEETS DALZELL BOSS TO DISCUSS ALL THINGS STEEL
Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, met this week with Liberty Steel boss, Sanjeev Gupta, in Parliament to discuss Liberty’s operations in the UK and the progress of Scottish steelworks.
The Dalzell and Clydebridge plants were saved last year after intervention from the Scottish Government after it set up a Steel Task Force which included Marion as the local MP.
Marion also discussed Liberty’s other Scottish operations including the Invergordon Smelter and the use of recycled steel and renewable energy.
Marion has since raised concerns over Chinese steel flooding the British market post-Brexit which was a major contributor to the steel crisis.
Commenting, Marion said:
“It was wonderful to catch up with Mr Gupta to find out about how Scotland’s steelworks are progressing.
“The meeting was a great opportunity to discuss the industrial activities and opportunities in the UK and abroad for steel and other industries such as energy and manufacturing. These are integral to the Scottish economy and jobs.
“The success of our steelworks will partly depend on whether the UK pursues market economic status for China post-Brexit. This would allow subsidised Chinese steel being dumped here putting our steelworks at a disadvantage.
“The Tories previously backed this status for China. They must change direction and save our steel.”
Monday 19th June 2017
— Marion Fellows (@marionfellows) June 19, 2017
On Monday, Marion was working hard at home in the constituency, before attending the Clyde Valley High prize-giving ceremony, during which the MP presented awards to 5th and 6th year pupils including Dux Medal winner Meghan Hill.
Tuesday 20th June 2017
On Thursday, Marion continued working from her office in the Dalziel Building in Motherwell, discussing local issues, meeting local people, and assisting constituents with casework.
Wednesday 21st June 2017
Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has said that more powers for the Scottish Parliament should be one of the party’s top priorities during this Parliament.
New powers were devolved to the Scottish Parliament following the 2014 independence referendum and a massive SNP victory in the 2015 General Election.
The SNP included further devolution in their 2017 manifesto. The MP says that the SNP’s victory in the snap General Election with 35 of 59 MPs demonstrates a clear desire and mandate for yet more powers to be devolved.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
“The SNP’s manifesto called on more powers for the Scottish Parliament and Scotland has voted for that pledge to be fulfilled.
“The Scottish Parliament received new powers last year that the Scottish Government are beginning to put to good use. For example, we are breaking away from the Tories’ welfare regime of sanctions and unfair disability assessments to build a system of dignity and respect.
“However some of the powers, such as control of income tax, is difficult to use while Westminster still holds the powers to tackle tax evasion which makes it easier for people to register their tax in England to pay a lower rate.
“When the Tories are teaming up with the far right DUP, Scottish parties must unite to take these powers out of Theresa May’s hands and into Scotland’s.
“With Brexit, there is an opportunity for powers over agriculture and fisheries for example to be returned to the Scottish Parliament. With the Great Repeal Bill, it is essential that Westminster is not able to hold onto powers that are rightfully Scotland’s in a power grab.
“Further tax, employment and pension powers must be a key priority. We shouldn’t allow the Tories to allow tax evasion while ordinary people pay their fair share; we shouldn’t allow people to work for poverty wages; and we shouldn’t allow people who have paid into the pension pot have their retirement ruined.”
Thursday 22nd June 2017
Thursday provided Marion with the opportunity to provide a fantastic contribution to the Housing and Social Security debate at the House of Commons, stating:
In Scotland, we value all of our citizens, whatever their age or ethnicity. Many constituents have approached me in desperation and disbelief. I have a long list and I do not have time to go through it, but during the election campaign I was approached by a grieving grandmother whose son had just been widowed. The so-called simplification of bereavement support resulting in cuts for widows and widowers when they are at their most vulnerable is scandalous. I ask Members to try to imagine how someone who is grieving must feel when having to give up their employment to deal with a young family and finding out that the financial support they expected because of their circumstances was no longer there. That happened in April of this year.
The SNP is opposed to any increase in national insurance, especially at a time of low consumer confidence and squeezed household budgets. We need a freeze on NI contributions and VAT. The SNP here in Westminster will fight for a moratorium and review of the closure of HMRC offices in Scotland and across the UK, for beneficial ownership of companies and trusts to be made public, for measures to improve the transparency of tax paid by major international companies, and for further action by the UK Government to tackle international tax avoidance. If these measures were taken, there might be no need for austerity cuts at all, or at least they could be lessened.
The SNP will fight for an end to benefit sanctions, to the roll-out of universal credit and to charges from the Child Maintenance Service, and we will fight to end private company involvement in social security benefits. Finally, we will fight to abolish the premium-rate telephone charge for those seeking advice or claiming benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions. Not only do the Government cut benefits, but they charge people increasingly large amounts to access what is rightfully theirs. We must help the worst off and most vulnerable in our society, not impose further cuts on them.
Friday 23rd June 2017
— Marion Fellows (@marionfellows) June 23, 2017
On Friday, Marion visited Dalzell steelworks in Motherwell and met with General Manager Drew McGhie.
Although the Scottish Government saved the plant, the UK Government has yet to outline a proper industrial strategy to create the right conditions for manufacturing businesses. Marion is talking to local businesses with the intention of making sure this happens.
With great capabilities in engineering research and innovation through universities, steel businesses like Dalzell that make steel for wind turbines, and great potential for renewable energy in Scotland, there are plenty of opportunities to grow in these sectors. But we need a government that is willing.
Marion Fellows, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, met last week with Dalzell steelworks General Manager, Drew McGhie, to discuss the future of steel in Scotland following her appointment as SNP spokesperson for Small Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Marion, a former college business lecturer, was appointed to the role last week after a SNP group reshuffle at Westminster.
On her appointment, Marion said:
“I am delighted to be appointed to the role and can’t wait to get to work representing small businesses and encouraging enterprise and innovation.
“Locally there is a lot to be done to revive our town centres and create employment. I’m hoping to bring together local stakeholders to do just that.”
The Dalzell steelworks were saved following Scottish Government intervention last year which saw Liberty take over from Tata saving hundreds of jobs.
The plant makes specialist rolled steel often used in offshore wind farms. All plants capable of producing raw steel in Scotland were closed under Thatcher’s government.
Discussions took place on the progress made since Liberty’s takeover of the plant, the role of the UK and Scottish Governments, energy issues and a strategy for the industry.
Commenting on her meeting with Drew McGhie, Marion said:
“It was a pleasure speaking to Mr McGhie last week and hearing about how our steelworks are progressing under Liberty’s ownership.
“Although the Scottish Government saved the plant, the UK Government has to outline a proper industrial strategy to create the right conditions for manufacturing businesses. I’m listening to businesses locally and nationally to make sure this happens.
“With great capabilities in engineering research and innovation through our universities; works like Dalzell that make steel for wind turbines; and great potential for renewable energy in Scotland, there are plenty of opportunities to grow in these sectors.
“We need a UK Government that is willing to develop and encourage these markets. The UK Government has slashed support for renewable industries and not put forward a credible industrial strategy and is instead focussing on the service sector. We need a diverse economy that creates opportunities for all skillsets and sectors.”