Ministers must act to help British steelwork contractors wage a “fair fight on a level playing field” against massive international competition, British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) president Ivor Roberts said this week.
Speaking at the BCSA annual dinner Roberts described the recent award of the Forth Replacement Crossing contract to a Chinese contractor as “an absolute outrage” and urged the industry to support its new Rebuilding Britain Campaign to highlight the need to put the local supply chain first.
“While losing a job is always galling, it’s easier to take when you know that your competitor has jumped through the same hoops as you have, and will deliver a quality job,” he said. “Where it’s unacceptable, is when we’re not competing on a level playing field.”
Roberts pointed out that foreign contractors could often price below cost by using subsidies or with artificial exchange rate advantages.
He added that in many cases lower health & safety, quality and environmental requirements gave huge commercial advantages.
“The fact that the Forth Replacement Crossing is being largely built by a Chinese steel fabricator is an absolute outrage, and must not be allowed to happen again,” said Roberts. “It is completely unnecessary and means that taxpayers’ money - yours and mine - is flowing out of the country,” he told the dinner.
Roberts said that the new Rebuilding Britain Campaign would help relevel the playing field.