Planning ahead to our post-Covid economic recovery, the UK government should be taking every opportunity to make use of UK steel, supporting our skilled steel workers and those in the supply chain.

With the Prime Minister’s plans to “build, build, build” £640bn of infrastructure projects, there has never been a better time to back UK steel than now.

Despite this, there are still no real indications that the UK Government is serious about supporting the domestic steel industry.

I have previously spoken about how less than half of the steel purchased by the government is from the UK.

I have spoken directly with the Minister for Defence Procurement about using UK steel rather than say French and Swedish imports.

I have spoken many times about the urgent need to provide financial support to the industry and ensure long-term support by placing UK steel at the centre of future green industries – for example in the production of wind turbines and the steel that is used in electric cars and charge points.

The latest issue involves calling on the government to close a loophole which is allowing cheap Turkish imports to undercut UK steel through the use of bonded warehouses to avoid paying duties.

This is an issue where nothing illegal is taking place, but it is a practice that creates an unlevel playing field for British firms and ultimately puts businesses and jobs at risk.

I have written to the government several times on this matter and the wider issue of maintaining safeguard measures to protect UK steel companies. The responses I have received so far have failed to address the concerns and simply explain how the current regulations around bonded warehouses work.

I have now asked, if HMRC is not planning to address this issue, then what steps will be taken to ensure that domestic steel is able to compete.

Protecting UK steel should be a priority for this government.

There are 32,000 people employed directly in the steel industry and hundreds of thousands more in the supply chains.

Clamping down on the use of bonded warehouses to undercut our steel industry would be a direct and clear signal from this government that it intends to support UK steel and these workers.

This is another issue in a long list of issues that must be addressed to ensure the future of the industry and place UK steel at the centre of any forthcoming infrastructure projects and the nation’s economic recovery.