It is vital that steel production capacity is not lost to the UK

Statement on British Steel by Johnathan Dudley, National Head of Manufacturing at the national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe.

 The expected failure this morning of British Steel is a very worrying development for the British manufacturing and construction sector in particular and also, on a strategic level for the country as a whole.

The focus in the headlines is for jobs at risk of course, and rightly so.

However, there is a much bigger subtext here in that, unless somebody, government backed or otherwise, picks up the production capacity before it becomes irrecoverable, this will further shrink our country’s indigenous capability to produce steel without even greater reliance of production and supply abroad.

Uncertainty in supplies of steel has dogged our manufacturing industry, off and on, for years. Just a few years ago, there was a worldwide steel crisis caused by steel production being ‘bought’ by the far east, only for it later to flood the market with surplus thereby creating a rollercoaster in prices.

Maintenance of our own production will help to prevent such artificial ‘spikes’ adversely affecting UK industry. Aside from the risk to our manufacturing base at a time when it already faces headwinds caused by the likes of the world economic slowdown, Brexit uncertainty and issues in the automotive industry, there are so many infrastructural projects planned in the UK which will need heavy steel over the next few years.

Apart from HS2, there are projects nationwide to promote more rail and light rail transport; there is a desperate need to build more homes across the country as well as regeneration projects surrounding the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine.

Contracts have just been awarded to build the next generation of Fleet Auxiliary ships in the UK and the Navy’s new frigate programme is moving off the drawing board too. This is just in the short term, of course. All of the above, and more, will need steel. They will need security of supply and price to deliver on time and to budget.

Years ago British Steel used to have the strapline, ‘British Steel, British Strength’. Maybe it’s a timely reminder to repeat this mantra to those in the corridors of power.



Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit:

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK

Crowe industry recognition

    • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
    • Top charity auditor for 10 consecutive years (Charity Finance and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 8th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)


  • Best Human Capital/Employment Tax Practice (Taxation Awards, 2018).