October 5, 2022 10.13 am This story is over 18 months old

Union chairman says Scunthorpe’s British Steel has been hit by “perfect storm”

Electricity costs for the firm have risen tenfold

The multi-union chairman at Community Union says Scunthorpe-based British Steel has been hit by a “perfect storm” as electricity costs have risen tenfold for the firm.

The Chinese owners of British Steel – Jingye Group – reportedly recently told government ministers that two blast furnaces in Scunthorpe are unlikely to be viable without hundreds of millions of pounds of government aid, of up to £500 million.

BBC Look North said bosses have met with unions and the government, so ideas such as closing one of the blast furnaces have been averted. Scunthorpe MP Holly Mumby-Croft said she’s also working with British Steel and meeting with the government to come up with a deal to try and secure its future.

In an industry that uses huge amounts of energy, the rising electricity and gas prices are among serious issues taking their toll.

Paul McBean, Community Union multi-union chairman, told BBC Look North that electricity costs have risen tenfold from around £84,000 a day to £840,000 a day at their peak.

He said: “We’ve been hit by what we would call the perfect storm. Energy prices, carbon credits, and basically Ukraine and Russia, it’s kind of all come together at once and it’s caused problems.”

He added: “Energy costs, they’re killing us, so the government has to come forward and decide whether it wants a steel industry or not, and that’s the question.”