1 August 2010 | Lindsay Clark
Engineering firm Sheffield Forgemasters has appealed directly to UK business secretary Vince Cable to reach a decision quickly on government help for the firm.
The previous Labour government had offered the company an £80 million loan to allow it to build a 15,000-tonne press necessary to build parts for the nuclear industry.
However, in June the new coalition government axed the spending commitment. Since then, Cable has suggested that although he would not review the decision other forms of government help might be available to the firm when the availability of public funds becomes clearer following the autumn Spending Review.
Sheffield Forgemasters said it would halt development of the press until early 2011, when the government support is clearer.
Chief executive Graham Honeyman said: “The company has already invested significant amounts of time, energy and finances into the project and the period into 2011 is now essential for us. Sheffield Forgemasters needs to be in the best possible position to revisit this proposal early next year. For us to do this, we now need to concentrate on accelerating the growth of our group companies.”
Energy firms EDF and Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture between E.ON and RWE, are committed to nuclear construction programmes in the UK and face the challenge of nurturing a supply chain over the years it takes to plan and build these facilities.