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Sajid Javid - Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

On Monday 9th November I represented the UK at an extraordinary meeting of the Competitiveness Council in Brussels at which we discussed the challenges facing the steel industry in the EU. The Council was convened by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union following my request.

All Member States agreed that the steel industry is facing acute pressures as a result of global overcapacity and rapidly rising levels of imports and that this is having a negative effect across the whole of the EU hurting not just steel-producing nations, but also those involved in supply chains.

The Council considered the impact of global overcapacity, unfair trading practices, energy costs and regulatory burdens on the competitiveness of the steel sector. At the end of the meeting a number of actions to support the steel sector were set out in Presidency conclusions and include:

  • Improving the instruments available to the European Commission to allow for faster and more effective trade defence investigations;
  • Making full and timely use of trade policy instruments to ensure a global level playing field in the steel sector;
  • Intensifying discussions involving steel producers in the context of the OECD Steel committee and through dialogues with countries like China, Russia, Belarus, Turkey and India;
  • Holding a high Level stakeholders conference involving social partners, industry and users to discuss the current state of the sector and policy actions that should be taken forward;
  • Assessing the implementation of the 2013 European Steel Action Plan in the context of the current crisis facing the steel industry;
  • Improving the access of EU exporters to third markets;
  • Using EU funds to support the modernisation of the steel sector, retraining and reintegration into the labour market;
  • Looking at all possible ways of supporting energy intensive industries within the current state aid framework;
  • Using the review of the Emissions Trading System to ensure that the steel sector remains competitive while still meeting climate change goals, specifically by creating a more focused mechanism for the free allocation of allowances and removing the need for a cross-sectoral correction factor;
  • Swiftly implementing the European Energy union to ensure access to secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy; and
  • Fully exploiting the proposals under the upcoming European Commission circular economy strategy to support the sector.

Follow-up to this meeting will take place when the Councils Foreign Affairs Committee (Trade) meets on 27 November and when the High Level stakeholder conference on steel is convened.

In the meantime, my department will continue its work to support Britains steel industry and the workers who have recently lost their jobs.

Mike Penning - Home Office

I am pleased to announce that the Home Office has begun the first review of the Forensic Archive Limited (FAL). FAL was established in October 2012 to manage and maintain material previously held by the Forensic Science Service.

Reviews of non-departmental public bodies are part of the governments commitment to ensuring accountability in public life.

I will announce the findings of the review later in this financial year.


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