Breaking: Labour – “We’ll renationalise British steel to save the industry”

Labour announces new plan to save British Steel
Labour has just announced that it will nationalise British Steel in government, to save thousands of jobs in the north of England.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said:

The collapse of British Steel would be devastating for thousands of jobs in Scunthorpe, and could have major knock on effects on wider supply chains.

Just as they were under Thatcher, our communities are being betrayed by a Tory government whose free market obsession is threatening Britain’s vital manufacturing base.

Britain’s proud steel industry has a major role to play in ushering in a Green Industrial Revolution, securing British manufacturing for a sustainable, green future. It needs support, not a death warrant.

If an agreement cannot be struck, the government must be prepared to take a public stake in the company to secure the long term future of the steelworks and protect peoples’ livelihoods and communities.

The Tories failed to save the Teesside steel industry through their inaction. The UK imports millions of tons of steel each year.


This is what fighting for working-class interests looks like. Anyone tempted to fall for Farage’s ploy of piggybacking Thatcherism on the back of justified anger about anti-democratic moves to prevent Brexit should take note.

Only Labour is fighting for the many.

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  1. Even without the jobs, important as they are, steel is a strategic industry – and all the new wind and solar farms and the ships to service them will need lots of it.
    It’d be obvious to a child.

    1. It’s criminal – treason even – the way the Tories have left us vulnerable to the whims of international markets and their manipulation by foreign and domestic profiteers.

    2. Absolutely right, David. We cannot be dependent upon other countries for crucial materials like steel.

  2. British steel is some of the best in the world and some grades ARE the best in the world. We must save it by bringing it back into public ownership.

  3. The scenario of a nationalised British Steel presents a good reason to leave the EU and Single Market.

    As Costas Lapavitsas explains, as regards their relationship with any nationalised company under EU and Single Market (EEA) law, national governments are bound by the “market operator principle”. This means that the company, once in public ownership, must be treated as if it were a conventional firm. The government cannot through State Aids of any kind elevate it to being a “national champion”.

    This neoliberal body of law would prevent a democratic socialist government using the company to, in any significant way, strengthen investment, improve services and meet social aims.

    Our Labour government must have the freedom to pursue democratic socialism – in place of capitalism!


  4. Yes and give workers a say in how it is run under public ownership.
    Plus encourage UK organisations to utilise this steel more once free of Neo-Liberal Tory/EC rules.
    Could be many benefits for society with 21stC democratic socialist ideas and for workers in the industry plus all those in the supply chain and other jobs in the local community reliant on the big employer such as cafes, pubs etc.
    We could even ask academic experts and the public to send their ideas in to help make such saved industries a success.
    The Tories, Lib Dems would let it fall (as the Neo-Liberals in Labour would no doubt have if still in charge) and this shows the potential of a JC Labour Govt to offer hope!

    1. Bazza, surely under a left wing Labour government worker participation would be a given, wouldn’t it?
      When China and Korea and whoever else floods the world with cheap steel have put every other producer out of business that’ll be when their workers get Western wages and conditions – if AI doesn’t get there first.
      Either way steel won’t be bargain basement prices any more.
      We’ll have no skilled workers and they’ll keep a very close eye on the production workers/software/robots.
      The Chinese haven’t paid the West back for stealing those silkworm eggs yet.
      British management thought they were brilliant selling all their old machine tools to the far East for big money as they replaced them with new but they kick-started the competitors that put them out of business two decades later – and British bosses still see no further than the next quarter’s figures – because they went to the same schools as the Tories.

  5. Ordinary people throughout the EU appear to be increasingly disaffected with it for its having failed to improve their lives as they were told it would.
    If the EU wants to survive in some form I believe it will be forced to ditch full-on neoliberalism and adopt market regulation as I’ve said before – and that Germany and France (if we’ve left) will be forced to roll back unification and massively slash the cost of the gravy train.
    Those who claim the EU cannot change direction will be proved right or wrong and so will I, so we’ll see.
    If I’m right I’ll cheer as loudly as anyone when the freedom fighter Farage’s statue in Parliament Square is unveiled 🙂

  6. So at PMQ’s
    What is your industrial strategy and is British Steel an integral part of the Northern powerhouse
    Labours position is clear British Steel is a world class producer with a world class workforce and the need for world class long term investment, this cannot be provided by the market
    And like East Coast rail as soon as it comes back into public ownership it will become miraculously profitable
    Finally wait until it does go into administration and pick it up for a pound, what’s good for the capatalist goose is fecking brilliant for the socialist gander
    Which is what should have happened to the banks

  7. Would have been far, far better to let the banks fail and nationalise them at knock-down prices rather than throw cash at them like Brown.
    As it is they were made to feel safe enough to bet big again thinking they’ll be bailed out however stupid and reckless they are.
    Still, we can teach them the lesson this time that we should have taught them last time.

    1. Would never ever happen.

      Banks have secret agreements with the HoC. No serving MP will be declared bankrupt or foreclosed as long as the banks get their way.

      This chumocracy goes back decades.

      Banks stole the ability to create money from the government. But when they screwed up, they needed taxpayers cash as they couldn’t cover their losses. Government stepped in. We know that backs sat on the cash they were given, and charged us for the privilege. Why did government do nothing about this?

      Compare to Iceland. They jailed their bankers, and their recover was far, far swifter.

      1. “Why did government do nothing about this?”
        Because 100% of bankers vote Tory, donate bigly, swap dinner party invites, go to the same schools, live in the same part of Surrey, protect each other in the tabloid comics, each insist the other is indispensable.
        Bankers ask for deregulation, Thatcher gives them deregulation.
        Bankers go crazy mad gambling with our money, piss it all away but hey, it doesn’t matter, it wasn’t theirs anyway.
        Just as long as the little people keep on believing the bollocks that the world goes back to mud huts and gruel without bankers and Tories they’ll all be fine.

        Am I close?

      2. I think you’ve got most of the recipe 👏👏

    2. I’m sick of people venerating Gordon Brown. Apart from saving the banks with OUR money, he was the genius who sold off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market!

      Cost us a pretty penny, all told.

      1. Tim, he sold about 65% of the reserve and bought foreign currency which also rose in value – the est. £2bn loss wasn’t his biggest mistake though.
        He didn’t see Thatcher’s deregulation bubble for what it was (not that he could have done much about it) but not seeing it he didn’t prepare for the inevitable crash.
        The measures he took after the crash were actually beginning to work by 2010 I believe.
        Also if he hadn’t made all those stupid “I fixed boom & bust” boasts he’d have had standing in 2010 to defend us against the “Labour overspending” Tory lie. As if a global crash could be caused by that – and until the bank bailouts Labour spending was similar to previous Tory governments.
        He should have let the banks fail and nationalised them but “too big to fail” was like holy writ back then – and it still is.

  8. Note the role played by the Brexit threat (just the threat) in pushing the company over the edge.

    The history of decline goes back a long way before that – but in that time, the steel industry’s base has changed beyond recognition. Taking a controlling public share is necessary – but it doesn’t solve the underlying problems which might be taken as a representation of the wider UK manufacturing economy.

    I don’t have enough specific knowledge, but the remaining successful parts of the steel industry in this area have, for instance, succeeded by focusing on specialist steel. Is British Steel able to replace the types of steel that are is currently imported ? What would a reinvigorated strategy look like? What is the effect on wider trade negotiations? … etc…etc.

    The point is that the damage inflicted by Brexit on industry on top of historical damage isn’t going to be magicked away by nationalisation – and the economic pressure generated is going to impose real constraints on government’s ability to deal with a progressive social agenda.

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