The Government’s £500 million intervention into Britain’s biggest steelworks is not a sign that ministers are set to follow Joe Biden’s “subsidy bowl” economic policy, the Chancellor has said.
Jeremy Hunt insisted that the financial backing for Tata, the Indian conglomerate owner of the Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales, came after “very credible commitments” were received about its own £750 million investment plans.
Speaking to the Financial Times, he said: “We are very clear — we won’t pursue the Inflation Reduction Act subsidy bowl approach to economic policy.
“We are very hard-headed. We will do what is right for the long-term interests of the UK.”
The Democrat president’s Inflation Reduction Act has been hailed as a major shift in American economic policy, with the green subsidy push winning praise in the UK from Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour.
The Opposition has been particularly critical of what it says is the lack of an industrial strategy from Rishi Sunak’s government.
The Chancellor told the paper that the Conservatives’ approach on industrial strategy was “alive and kicking”.
“The UK Government is taking a very holistic approach when it comes to industrial strategy,” he said.
He insisted that Friday’s steelworks announcement was not a sign that the Government was looking at “big pots of subsidies” for other key British sectors.
But he added: “Where there’s a strategic opportunity to progress, we will take it.”