Javid: infrastructure projects must use British steel

Business Secretary Sajid Javid issued procurement rules for major infrastucture projects over the weekend instructing public bodies that they will need to consider the wider social implications when they choose steel suppliers, in a bid to ensure that British steel stacks up against cheaper imports.

The message comes as government is in talks to rescue the industry and prevent the closure of the Port Talbot steelworks following the threat of Tata Steel to pull out of the UK. 

The government says it is ready to offer support to secure a buyer to save Port Talbot steelworks, where thousands of jobs are at risk.

Javid has said said that contractors involved in procuring steel contracts must take into consideration responsible sourcing, the training suppliers give to their workforce, carbon footprint, protecting the health and safety of staff and the social integration of disadvantaged workers when they choose suppliers.

This will allow buyers across all major projects to take into account the true value of British steel, including its social impact, claims the Government.

The Government is claiming that these new measures mean British steel companies will be able to compete on a level playing field for public sector contracts that are part of the £300bn due to be spent on major UK infrastructure projects over the next five years.

Since October 2015, all central government departments must consider the social and economic impact of the steel they source across all major projects. Now, the Government has announced that the public sector will be required to adopt these reforms introduced by central Government. 

Other steps Government has taken which it claims will help secure the future of the steel sector in the UK include:

•Moving to exempt energy intensive industries - including steel - from energy costs, which will save industry £400 million by the end of the Parliament.

•Securing flexibility over EU emissions regulations

•Continuing to tackle unfair trading practices at an EU and an International level.

•And measures imposed in January on reinforcing steel bar imports are already starting to have an effect - imports in January 2016 were 99 per cent down on January 2015.

The government also announced last week that it will establish a list of approved steel suppliers. Companies on this list will meet stringent criteria including high and robust standards around health and safety, environmental impacts, responsible sourcing, supply chain management and training the workforce. The list will be used by the government and its contractors and will help to ensure a level playing field for those suppliers who meet the criteria.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am determined to make sure we do all we can to secure a sustainable future for UK steel and find a viable solution that supports the workers and wider community.

By changing the procurement rules on these major infrastructure projects we are backing the future of UK steel - opening up significant opportunities for UK suppliers and allowing them to compete more effectively with international companies.”






If only there was a cross Government team which produced and maintained a set of Common Minimum Standards that could be used across the public sector to encourage responsible sustainable procurement and project delivery. Turn the clock back 6 years and witness its demise in the efficiency savings of 2010. The previous article poses a good question - is public procurement fit for purpose - not just for time and cost saving?