Heathrow to save 700 jobs in embattled UK steel industry


LONDON, England – Seven Labour MPs representing steel communities across the North have called on Business Secretary Greg Clark to get on with Heathrow expansion after the airport revealed it expected to need 370,000 tonnes of steel to build its new terminals in the early 2020s – representing 10% of the UK’s 2015 steel output and the equivalent of building 30 new Shards or 16 Wembley stadia.

The airport has already pledged to follow the new public sector procurement rules regarding steel purchasing and new research released today by economic consultancy QUOD concluded that the tonnage required for an expanded Heathrow could sustain 700 jobs across the UK. This is welcome news for communities such as Scunthorpe, Port Talbot and Teesside – all areas that have lived with the threat of devastating job losses as firms pledge to close down UK steel plants.

Responding to the research, the UK steelworkers’ union Community today backed Heathrow’s expansion plans as vital for the long-term future of the UK’s steel industry.

Roy Rickhuss of Community said:

“Theresa May has a real opportunity to deliver on her promise to build a better, fairer Britain by backing Heathrow expansion and securing a long-term future for British steel. It’s absolutely critical that we don’t stonewall private infrastructure projects that are going to stimulate demand for our steel.

“Heathrow expansion is a ready-to-go project that could secure 700 UK steel jobs. Our steel communities are looking to government to secure their future, Heathrow expansion can be the first step in that long term industrial strategy we desperately need.”

Community joins the GMB and top steel constituency MPs from across the country to call on Clark to include Heathrow expansion in his hotly anticipated industrial strategy for steel and to pressure Government colleagues to get on with approving a decision.

Gareth Stace, Director, UK Steel, said:

“By committing to use UK steel Heathrow is not only supporting the industry at a critical time, it is also setting an important precedent for all major infrastructure and construction projects in Britain. UK produced steel is high quality and competitively priced, and it supports thousands of jobs and communities. A revitalised steel industry is one of the key foundations Britain will need if we are to secure our place as a global trading powerhouse in a post-Brexit world.”

Tim Roache GMB Union, General Secretary said:

“The amount of steel that will be required to build this major project will be a much needed boost for the UK Steel Industry, steel workers and their communities. This is another good reason why the UK government needs to make a decision quickly in support of Heathrow expansion.”

Redcar MP Anna Turley, whose constituency has been a major force in the British steel industry, said:

“Unions, MPs and manufacturers are clear that an expanded Heathrow will kick-start growth across the UK – particularly for steel communities currently under threat from mass job losses. In the wake of Brexit putting years of economic uncertainty on the horizon, we need to say yes to projects like Heathrow which will create thousands of jobs and show Britain is serious about its future.”

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“If the Prime Minister greenlights expansion of Heathrow, the biggest privately funded construction project in the UK, she will help create jobs up and down the country. In the steel industry alone, we will support up to 700 skilled jobs by ordering up to 370,000 tonnes of high quality steel. Heathrow expansion will be the cornerstone of the UK’s economy.”