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Steelwork sector launches manifesto ahead of general election

Left to Right: BCSA President Gary Simmons and BCSA CEO, Dr David Moore deliver the steel sector manifesto.

The UK structural steelwork sector has launched its manifesto for the sector at an event in the House of Lords, urging sitting and prospective politicians to take action to protect and grow the industry.

The sector is worth approximately £1.6bn per year and employs around 60,000 people in the UK. The British Constructional Steelwork Association’s (BCSA) manifesto includes a range of measures, which it believes are necessary to both sustain and promote its members.

The manifesto would like to see the end of cash retentions, as they stifle cash flow and potentially damage smaller companies, while the sector would also like UK firms to be prioritised on all public-funded contracts, such as HS2.

Other points on the manifesto wish list include better support for apprenticeships, more access to finance to help the industry innovate with the latest technology, and a commitment from the Government to support steelmakers decarbonise their operations.

BCSA CEO, Dr David Moore, said: “The UK steelwork sector is, literally and figuratively, an economic building block. It is both the fabric of our growth and development, and has the potential to be a booming industry creating jobs, boosting GDP and delivering opportunity.

“The industry does not operate in a vacuum and there are simple measures that our politicians could take, which would be a real shot in the arm for our sector. It is our hope that a future government, of whatever political persuasion they may be, will recognise both the value and potential of the constructional steelwork industry and take action the action we need to flourish and grow.”

Sponsoring Peer Lord Aberdare said: “The practice of cash retentions in the construction sector – withholding a proportion of payments due to subcontractors for work they have completed – has a pernicious impact on the sector.

“Smaller contractors may have to wait for an extended period for sums owed to them, and sometimes never receive them at all. This not only eats into their already tight profit margins, but reduces their ability to invest in training, technology and growth. The government has been thinking about how to tackle retentions for far too long; it is high time they were finally put to an end.”

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