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“Taxpayer’s money is being used to level up EU”, BCSA CEO tells Channel 4 Dispatches

Dr David Moore, CEO of the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA), the national trade association for the steel construction industry, has used an appearance on Channel 4 Dispatches to highlight failures in the HS2 procurement process which are seeing EU companies given priority over UK manufacturers.

The documentary, broadcast on Channel 4 on 22 February and presented by economist and Telegraph columnist, Liam Halligan, explored the government’s £400bn spending bill in the wake of the global pandemic. The programme set out the opportunity for the government to make good on its promise to priorities UK firms in building the HS2 infrastructure project, thereby contributing to the levelling-up agenda and using organic economic growth to balance the books.

Speaking on the programme, Dr Moore said, “The lion’s share of the steelwork contracts for bridges and viaducts for HS2 have actually gone to European companies.

“Brexit is about having the freedom to favour UK companies.”

Speaking on the documentary about a letter he received from Transport Minister, Andrew Stephenson MP, having raised his concerns, Dr Moore said: “They say in the letter that they don’t discriminate on location, which is weasel words for saying they can let these contracts to overseas companies. I think that’s wrong.

“This is public, taxpayers’ money, being used to level up the EU economy and not the UK economy.”

  • The BCSA is calling on the government to introduce a minimum UK content for the HS2 project. The basis of its campaign is:
    HS2 is a publicly funded infrastructure project, the largest in Europe, which should benefit British industry, the UK economy and create jobs. By using British companies (the industry estimates), every £1 invested in HS2 will return £2.84 in total economic activity, and £0.56 to HM Treasury in income tax and welfare savings
  • The constructional steel products used in the project are not specialist, and can be sourced by UK companies, whose production capacity far outstrips that demanded by the project
  • There is a precedent for imposed targets for UK content in government projects, such as that in the Dogger Bank offshore windfarm