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Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Geoffrey Howe's Speech at Enterprise Awards

Steel Conference

News 1980 4 mins

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Sir Geoffrey Howe appears at the ‘Enterprise Westward’ business conference to discuss the steel industry’s decline in the UK. He was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry in 1972 and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1975 earning the full title in 1979. Before the Bessemer process steel was an expensive resource to produce.

Henry Bessemer demonstrated his technique of blowing air through pig iron to create steel in 1856. In 1875 Britain accounted for 47% of the world’s demand for pig iron and 40% of the Steel production. During the 1970s steel production declined to such an extent the factories and mills were barely operational. By the 1980s, Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher re-privatized the British Steel Corporation (BSC) formed in 1967 to British Steel and invested capital so Britain could once again compete in the global market. Britain's Coal and Steel Industry went into steep decline as public subsidies waned.