Sheffield Forgemasters snubbed for power station work in favour of foreign firms

Red hot metal being moved across the heavy forge at the Forgemasters Works in Sheffield. Photo:  John Giles/PA Wire

Red hot metal being moved across the heavy forge at the Forgemasters Works in Sheffield. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

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Sheffield Forgemasters has said it would have been able to help build Britain’s new nuclear power station - after being snubbed in favour of foreign firms.

The company, which recently announced it was having to cut 100 jobs from its 700-strong workforce, has hit back at claims from Government industry minister Anna Soubry that British firms did not have the ‘capacity’ to create key parts for the Hinkley Point station in Somerset.

French and Japanese suppliers are being used instead by French energy giant EDF, who are responsible for the site.

In an interview with The Times, Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters, said Ms Soubry’s claims were incorrect.

He said: “We definitely take issue with her comments. We could make 80 per cent of the forgings and components for all parts of the European reactor design. We have the capacity and we have the capability.”

Mr Honeyman added: “We were never asked to quote. We heard about Hinkley Point and approached EDF.

“They said they had already made the decisions.”

He said that the company would have been capable of undertaking all of the work had a planned £80m loan to the company not been controversially cancelled in 2010 by the coalition Government.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield has now called on Ms Soubry to justify comments she made to the business select committee about British firms not having the ability to make the necessary parts. He said: “This is hugely damaging for UK steel.

“She should either publish an independent evaluation to justify this statement, or she should withdraw it and apologise.”

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