Why British Steel deal could lead to an amazing future for Yorkshire - Mark Casci

British Steel - Steve Morgan
British Steel - Steve Morgan
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There was some much-needed good news at the end of last week with the confirmation that British Steel, after months in limbo, has a preferred bidder.

The word iconic is one of the most overused and inappropriately wheeled-out in our language, often utilised to breath underserved gravatus into the innocuous.

British Steel - Scunthorpe

British Steel - Scunthorpe

Read more: Potential buyer for British Steel indentified
But when it comes the British Steel brand, it is 100 per cent appropriate, having been a byword for manufacturing excellence in a sector that Britain played a major role for decades.

That reputation has eroded considerably in recent years.

From a nation that used to be the go to destination for those build mega structures across the planet, our foothold has slipped.

UK Steel figures show that last year’s Britain’s production of crude steel dropped to levels seen since before the outbreak of World War II an a fall of 200,000 tonnes on 2017.

British Steel workers in action - picture Scott Merrylees

British Steel workers in action - picture Scott Merrylees

British Steel’s operations around the Yorkshire area have kept our steel production going.

Since its brand was restored when the business was taken over by Greybull Capital it has landed major contracts, home and abroad, and has shown itself ready, willing and able to keep supplying large-scale building projects both at home and abroad.

Read more: Lord Haskins - Brexit is to blame for British Steel collapse

In the last year alone it had landed contracts in Belgium, Germany and Africa, showcasing that demand for its high quality products and expertise is still attracting global demand.

Ed Sheeran rocks Roundhay

Ed Sheeran rocks Roundhay

Read more: British Steel lands new Belgian contract
The bidder has come in the shape of the investment arm of the Turkish military pension scheme. Ataer Holdings will now be pouring over the books of British Steel.

The process will doubtless take several weeks but those among the circa 20,000 jobs that British Steel is responsible for in Britain, many of which are in Scunthrope and Skinningrove in North Yorkshire, will be hoping the deal is confirmed soon.

Ataer has experience in the steel industry, owning a controlling stake in Turkish firm Erdemir, the nation’s largest steel producer.

Reports suggest that Erdemir is currently buying in hundreds of thousands of crude steel, so it makes perfect sense for them to target British Steel in order to add another supplier in to its mills.

Along with this could come investment to boost British Steel’s current output, currently standing at around 2.8 million tonnes per year.

The mere mention of the name of Turkey causes concern, as seen during the referendum when the prospect of its joining the EU was used by those on the Leave campaign to frighten voters, despite Britain being able to veto it.

Recent political instability in the country, and concerns over the Government’s cracking down on civil liberties in the wake of an aborted and frankly amateurish coup attempt are more legitimate.

But for now, a cautious welcome should be offered to Ataer Holdings. Steel production is not only home to so many thousands of jobs, it is a showcase of what British engineering can do on a grand scale.

We should not repeat the mistakes of the past and take it for granted.

Hopes for more mega concerts in Yorkshire

Leeds was flooded with music fans this weekend, as well as pretty horrific weather.

An estimated 150,000 watched Ed Sheeran on Friday and Saturday night at the city’s Roundhay Park - the first time it had been used for large-scale concerts in more than a decade.

Visitors to our website particularly on Friday will have seen the reports concerning the transport nightmare many concert goers faced. While there are certainly questions for organisers it would be a huge shame if this were to count against future plans to bring massive live music events to Leeds in the future.

Read more: Yorkshire Post review of Ed Sheeran
Culture is one of the region’s strongest unique selling points and Roundhay Park may be one of the few places left in Yorkshire for concerts of this magnitude.

Live music events are significant revenue drivers for the local economy and help forge amazing memories for those who attend them.

Let us hope lessons can be learned from the Ed Sheeran gigs and that the world’s biggest artists keep coming to Yorkshire for future unforgettable events.