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Materials Processing Institute plays key role in shaping the future of the UK’s steel industry

ByCharley Williams

Jan 26, 2017

The Materials Processing Institute has been heavily involved in a strategic Parliamentary report, which has laid down the blueprint for the future of the UK’s steel industry.

The Middlesbrough-based research and innovation centre’s Chief Executive, Chris McDonald, was asked to provide evidence for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal Related Industries, which published the ‘Steel 2020: Forging a Future for the British Steel Industry’ report.

Steel 2020 was produced following an inquiry that was conducted in collaboration with the University of Leeds Business School, with testimony collected from industry experts, business leaders, R&D specialists, international trade body representatives, politicians and the European Commission.

The report, from the cross party group of MPs who represent steelmaking communities, including Redcar MP Anna Turley, offers a blueprint for how the Government and devolved administrations can help reshape policy to boost the steel industry.

It identified seven areas of reform to help make the steel industry competitive again, which included reshaping the energy market to reduce costs faced by the industry, developing a post-Brexit trade strategy to limit uncertainty, creating a more collaborative relationship between industry and trade unions, as well as Government financial support for mothballing in incidents of plant closure and for the workers made redundant to ensure skills are not lost.

It also highlighted the need for more support of R&D to improve productivity and the creation of a Materials Catapult, a proposal which the Materials Processing Institute has also championed.

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “I welcome this report, which clearly shows the UK has the opportunity to build on our skills and innovation capability to have the most flexible, technologically advanced and low carbon steel industry in the world.

“I am pleased that the report highlights initiatives by the Materials Processing Institute to develop new energy and processing technologies and the support for a new Materials Catapult for the sector.”

Mr McDonald was also quoted in the official report, saying: ‘If we are going to have a steel strategy we need an energy strategy that runs alongside that. A more sustainable solution is to have an industry in the UK that can have a competitive advantage because it structurally uses less energy than the rest of Europe.’