Ludicrous steel tariff must be set aside by Government – Lockhart

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has written to the Chancellor to request that he suspend the 25% tariff on steel products entering Northern Ireland. The tariff is being introduced as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol, after EU quotas for global imports were exhausted.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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The DUP MP said:

“The impact of this tariff will be felt right across our construction sector. Any family building a new home will be hit in the pocket. New house prices will rise. The cost of building new schools, new hospitals, new road infrastructure will rocket. Constructions costs are already at record highs. Due to the Protocol, they are about to go even higher.

This tariff will also place our local manufacturing sector at a competitive disadvantage. At a time when so many costs have increased and margins are hard to keep in profit, this is the last thing our manufacturing industry need. Manufacturers in Ballymena or Portadown should not be at a disadvantage with manufacturers in Bristol or Plymouth.

We must have that equilibrium within our UK internal market restored. We need the Government to step in now to suspend these tariffs. We have heard during the debates in the House that the Government believe such measures are wrong, so now we have a test for the Government – back up your words with action.

I have written to the Chancellor in these terms. I hope other parties, for whom the Protocol is some kind of sacred cow, will recognise the damage the Protocol is doing and support this call. Let us not forget this is the Protocol in light touch mode – the full implantation of the Protocol is yet to come.

Should it ever be 'rigorously implemented' as demanded by Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Alliance Party, it will spell further economic damage to Northern Ireland. It is time for a new way forward that supports our economy.”

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