Steel jobs could be at risk if industry comes under pressure this winter from soaring energy bills, sector’s trade association warns
Steel jobs could be at risk if the industry comes under pressure this winter from soaring energy bills, the sector’s trade association warned.
Gas prices in the UK and Europe have hit a series of record highs in the last few weeks and experts have said a cold winter could push them up further.
UK Steel has warned this would be ‘extremely damaging’ to companies of all sizes in the beleaguered sector, which has faced a series of crises over the last few years.
Surge: Gas prices in the UK and Europe have hit a series of record highs in the last few weeks
Gas prices have surged because of lower supplies from Russia, which has affected the amount being stored in Europe, and tough competition for liquefied natural gas imports.
Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel, said: ‘Continued energy price spikes would be extremely damaging for the sector. Already we are facing electricity prices almost double those of our European competitors and these price increases only widen that chasm.’
Steel companies have for years asked the Government to cut energy bills for heavy industry, which they say is holding back investment.
UK producers pay 86 per cent more for power than their counterparts in Germany and 62 per cent more than France.
Matthew Watkins, principal steel analyst at advisors CRU, however, said any hits from higher energy prices this year should be temporary.