In the News Teaching Activity: British Steel Plans To Decarbonise Plant Putting Jobs at Risk (Nov 2023)
British Steel's shift to electric furnaces risks jobs, sparks concern over UK steel independence, but should help with decarbonisation.
Have a go at this free teaching activity, which includes a downloadable worksheet and suggested answers.
British Steel intends to close its blast furnaces in Scunthorpe, risking 2,000 jobs and prompting concerns about the UK's reliance on steel imports. The company plans to replace these furnaces with electric arc furnaces (EAFs) to achieve decarbonization and future profitability. However, unions argue this move could leave the country vulnerable to international steel markets, because it follows Tata Steel's plan to shut blast furnaces in Wales. The shift to EAFs aims for greener steel but there is concern that the UK will become too dependent on overseas steel.
- If 2,000 jobs are lost at the Scunthorpe steel works, what sort of unemployment is this?
- Using an externality diagram, analyse how the switch towards greener methods of steel production could reduce the net welfare loss caused by the steel industry.
- Discuss the potential problems for the UK if it becomes more reliant on steel imports.