Last month I had cause to communicate with UK Steel members and took the opportunity to highlight the work that we have so far carried out this year on their behalf. In the process, I also reminded myself of what a fantastically busy year it’s been for us, as a team, at UK Steel.
After our successful battle to support the steel sector during the crisis in 2016, we could have been forgiven for dropping down a gear, reflect on our policy wins, the awards (I’m too modest to brag about our 2016 Public Affairs awards for ‘Campaign of the Year’ and ‘In House Team of the Year’), and recuperate while the sector enjoys mildly improved trading conditions.
But if you read our 2017 Highlights document (and I urge you to do so), you’ll see that we’ve spent most of the year back in the trenches. With over 30 meetings with government ministers, round-table events with EDF, Heathrow and with HS2, campaigning in every corner of the energy sector for sustainable and competitive UK energy prices, consulting with the Department of International Trade on post Brexit defence remedies, or working with unions, members, the Metals Forum, and cooperating with our European partners, we’ve never been so busy and in demand.
Back in 2001, the former Director General of Industry at the DTI, Alistair MacDonald, produced a report for Trade Associations titled, The Business of Representation. In this document he said, “Relationships with Government provide the lifeblood of many Trade Associations. For some it is their raison d’être. There are very few large Associations who do not see Government lobbying as a core activity.”
While UK Steel represents a sector that is a competitive, innovative and critical to a modern, thriving economy, it is important to remember that we are not a large Trade Association. We are a small team, but we punch way above our weight. As our recognition at last year’s Public Affairs Awards demonstrates, very few Trade Associations enjoy the close working relationship with both Parliament and government that is enjoyed by UK Steel.
I am proud to be part of the UK steel industry and lead a dedicated team that deliver crucial, award-winning campaigns on behalf of the sector.
Please take the time to read our 2017 Highlights document, support the steel industry, support jobs, and celebrate an innovative sector that deserves a sustainable future for generations.