UK metals industry lays out new approach

Posted on 20 Oct 2015 by Fred Tongue

The UK's metal forum has released a new strategy aimed at helping the UK metals industry face up to the mounting pressures it currently faces.

The Metals Forum has released a new strategic approach to create a sustainable future for the sector, create 150,000 new jobs and boost innovation in the sector by 2030.

With substantial jobs losses in UK steel production and other metal producers also facing mounting difficulties, the Metals Forum has published a strategy – seven months in the making – to address the challenges being experienced by the sector.

The report details ways the UK metals industry can remain competitive and sustainable in the face of current problems, with regulations cited as a particularly substantial issue facing the industry.

The new strategy proposes:

  • New support initiatives for SMEs to boost innovation through collaboration
  • Greater collaboration between government and industry to build better supply chains and boost agility
  • A bigger focus on attracting new talent in to the industry through improved training and greater awareness of apprenticeships and university pathways
  • A review of procurement policy with the aim of sourcing 50% of materials for new infrastructure projects locally by the end of 2016
  • To drive towards a more sustainable and circular economy by embedding environmental assessment as part of the public procurement process

The metals industry in the UK currently employs 230,000 people directly and another 750,000 jobs are supported by the industry, there are 11,000 companies in the industry that contribute £200bn to the UK economy.

The strategy claims that a rise in foreign imports, long investment cycles and unpredictable government policies are the main difficulties that that are plaguing the sector

Minister of State Anna Soubry was at the launch of the strategy and commented: “This is especially important at a time when many companies in the sector are facing major pressures on their businesses.

“I have seen for myself how hard the sector is working in order to remain competitive in such a challenging environment.”

Jon Bolton chair of the Metals Strategy Steering Group, added: “Bringing this diverse but valuable sector together under a single banner, working in partnership with the Government and other key industrial sectors will ensure that greater economic value is extracted from planned infrastructure projects and future industrial expansion.”

“The metals contribution to the UK economy should be grown substantially- securing a bright future for a sector that is the back bone of the UK economy.”