China should not be made a "scapegoat" for the collapse of the UK's steel industry, Sir Vince Cable has said, accusing the Treasury of holding back with financial assistance that could help relieve pressures.
The Liberal Democrat former business secretary said David Cameron should urge action from Beijing to curb production and noted there was a technical question to be examined over whether China was guilty of illegal "dumping".
But he insisted there had been "endless problems with steel" unrelated to China while he was in government that ministers had some power to alleviate.
There is a technical issue about dumping which is a legal question that you have to prove they are selling below cost.
But the bigger issue is that they have massive excess capacity because they are trying to rebalance their economy.
What we should be saying to the president - and I hope Mr Cameron makes this point - is: if you want to be world economic citizens - and they clearly do as a superpower - you really have to take account of the rest of the world and you've got to restructure your own steel industry and lay off some of your own capacity.
That would take some of the pressure off us. But you can't make the Chinese the scapegoat."
Sir Vince added he had endless problems with steel when he was in the government, before this China problem erupted, because energy costs were too high.
He says got the European Commission gave permission to compensate, but he understands The Treasury is sitting on the money.
The commission last year cleared a UK plan to compensate certain energy-intensive industries - including steel - for higher costs resulting from its carbon price floor under state aid rules.
Sir Vince said Chinese investment was welcome - so long as it helped British suppliers.
I would welcome Chinese investment in the nuclear power industry - you have got to have safeguards. But you'd insist that the Chinese develop a supply chain here of British producers.
If they want to invest in these new railways, well great, providing they give an undertaking they'll get a lot of their stuff from the rail factories in Derby and Durham.
That's why you have the industrial strategy we had under the coalition. I don't know what's happened to it since."
Business secretary Vince Cable says Hitachi moving its global headquarters from Japan to London is great news for the North East, where the company's train building factory will be based.
Business Secretary is back in the region today and will visit BEL Valves in Newcastle to see for himself the on-going success of the engineering and manufacturing business.
The company recently received Regional Growth Fund support for its investment plans which will double its production capacity.
Vince Cable MP visits the North East to discuss the future of new manufacturingRead the full story ›
£1,400,000 will be awarded to Redcar's steel plantRead the full story ›
A month after Redcar's blast furnace was relit, there's been another boost for steelmaking on Teesside.
The region has been awarded more than £7 million of Government funding - some of which will be put into the chemical industry at the nearby Wilton site.
Vince Cable MP visited the steelworks today and said the share at the blast furnace will go towards training staff and securing jobs.
Business Sectretary, Vince Cable, is visiting Teesside steel plant, SSI, to announce a grant supporting 1800 jobs.Read the full story ›
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, is visiting the SSI steel plant on Teesside today.
He's expected to announce a £1.4 million pound grant to support the company in training it's 1,800 employees.
The blast furnace at the Redcar plant was re-lit last month after being mothballed in 2010, with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, is visiting the SSI steel plant on Teesside later today. He will announce a £1.4million pound grant which will be used to train 1,800 employees. The blast furnace was re-lit last month after being mothballed in 2010 with the loss of almost 1,000 jobs.
A North East company has been given millions of pounds to try to develop more fuel-efficient lorries and trucks.Read the full story ›