THE UK Steel Council met in Cardiff on Monday to discuss creating a sustainable future for the industry.

This was the sixth meeting of the council, which focussed on the challenges facing the steel industry, with a particular focus on decarbonisation, and on the sector’s transition to being competitive and sustainable, including the Government’s ongoing support for the costs of electricity.

Wales’ economy minister, Vaughan Gething hosted the council, which is chaired by UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and chairman of UK Steel Luis Sanz, and also has representatives from the six major steel companies, unions and the devolved administrations.

At the meeting, Mr Gething underlined the Welsh Government’s commitment to help secure a Welsh steel industry which is competitive, ambitious and fit for the future.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Gething said: “The steel industry has a long and proud history here in Wales, so I was pleased to welcome the UK Steel Council to Cardiff today. 

“Developing a sustainable and competitive low-carbon steel sector is a priority for the Welsh Government and for members of the Council. Delivering this transition will play a key role in meeting our climate change obligations and ambitions. 

“Decarbonisation of the steel industry is a challenge that is incredibly complex. It is one that requires all members of the UK Steel Council to work together to ensure resources and appropriate policies exist to allow the industry and its suppliers to invest in technologies that will enable a just transition, and allow them to operate on a level playing field with their global competitors.

“I look forward to working with members of the Steel Council to help secure a sustainable future for the sector.”

Mr Kwarteng said: “The steel industry is the beating heart of Wales, with Liberty Steel in Newport to the East, the iconic Tata steelworks in Port Talbot to the West, and Celsa in Cardiff – the location for the latest meeting of our Steel Council.

“Each of these companies plays a key role in supporting vibrant communities, providing high-quality, well-paid jobs. 

“We want to secure this sector’s bright future, whether through our decisive action to support it through globally high energy prices, or seizing the opportunities of the move towards greener forms of steelmaking. 

“Today’s meeting was another important discussion in how Government and industry are working together towards that shared goal.”

And Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel said: “Today’s Steel Council meeting represented an important step forward for the UK steel sector, and it was entirely fitting that industry and government came together to discuss the future of the sector in South Wales, home to two thirds of the UK’s steel production and a place synonymous with steelmaking.

“After recent action from the Government to narrow the electricity price gap between ourselves and our competitors in Europe, we look forward to working with the Business Secretary, his officials, and other departments to reduce the price gap further.

“Delivering competitive electricity prices is a vital component in the decarbonisation of UK steel production.

“Developing a domestic net-zero steel sector will place Wales and the wider UK at the heart of the Green Industrial Revolution and secure a prosperous future for steelworkers and this vital foundation sector.”