DAVID Cameron issued a Buy British order to ministers last night in a bid to save our steel industry, The Sun reports. The PM wants UK manufacturers to get fair crack at £300billion of government contracts over the next five years. They will get “preferred supplier” status in future bridge, railways, ships, tanks and public buildings.
Last night a source said it would give Brit firms a “level playing field” with cheaper rivals like China. The steel contracts for the £55billion HS2 high-speed rail project will not go abroad if the most competitive bid is British. But the rule will be expanded cover all public sector organisations including councils, the NHS and schools. Insiders admit the move will not save Port Talbot and the drive for a long-term solution for the industry will continue.
Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock said last night: “We will apply this guidance across the public sector. When public bodies buy steel they must take account of the true value of buying British.” Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “By changing the rules on major infrastructure projects, we are backing the future of UK steel.”
But Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle said: “The Government also has to ensure the steel industry survives so we can we make sure British steel is actually used in public projects.”