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Allan
November 2, 2015 9:34 pm

Interesting story! Imagine that eh? The Indian govt. demanding an Indian company supplies steel made at Indian site for use in the Indian defence sector………

trt
trt
November 2, 2015 9:43 pm
Reply to  Allan

What matters more
That tanks use British steel or tanks are damage resistant?
People don’t buy British steel because most of it is expensive and of low quality.

Allan
November 2, 2015 10:14 pm
Reply to  trt

@trt,

The steel produced in the UK is more than capable of meeting MoD requirements. In terms of cost, well, it would help if UK steel firms were operating on a level playing field and being hammered by HMGs policies.

mr.fred
mr.fred
November 2, 2015 10:58 pm
Reply to  Allan

While British steel manufacturers could produce armour steel, which ones actually do?
Swedish Steel’s Armox is a byword for armour steel. What British Steel is an equivalent?

as
as
November 2, 2015 11:32 pm

Sheffield Forgemasters make stuff for Nuclear reactors.
Tata Europe produce steel for the construction industry.
Both companies have roller mills so could produce armour plate.
Spartan UK make carbon steel plate.

Allan
November 3, 2015 12:00 am
Reply to  mr.fred

@mr.fred,

May I suggest you take the data sheets for say Armox and compare them with some of TATA Steel’s proprietary grades.

Indeed it wasn’t that long ago that the forerunner to TATA was making vehicles to clear minefields and panels for use in areas where blast resistance was key (like outside the HoCs).

mr.fred
mr.fred
November 3, 2015 7:56 am

Allan,
You can suggest data sheet comparison, but does that capture the details? Can you name the equivalent grades? The only thing I can see on Tata’s website that is like armour is Pavise, which is a pretty specialised appliqué.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview
November 3, 2015 2:04 pm

If the MOD bought only UK steel for every asset, the most you’ll get are the gate guardians.

Engineer Tom
November 3, 2015 2:18 pm

For shipbuilding, you need large quantities of steel plate and bar of a certain grade, as I understand it the British steel industry just doesn’t produce it, except for one off major contracts. Surely the industry needs to look at what there is demand for if they want more work.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 3, 2015 3:01 pm

…the general view from these parts is that we can pretty much make any steel product you want, and do so as well as anywhere else in the world…but first world production costs ensure that only the the really clever stuff is profitable; and of course installing steel mills in cheaper places from time to time. I’d guess the position would change if our overall approach to the economy was more dirigiste…or if there was a consistent and reasonably high demand for alloys suitable for warships and tanks…

Personally, I’m pretty keen on the second, but that puts me in a vanishingly small minority.

GNB

Hohum
Hohum
November 3, 2015 3:11 pm

The UK is just a crap place for making steel, its far away from the relevant deposits and has high energy and labour costs.

Allan
November 3, 2015 6:41 pm
Reply to  mr.fred

@mr.fred, I would suggest looking towards more of the Abrazo type grades – TATA calls ’em wear resistant but they work just as well as armour plate.

Allan
November 3, 2015 6:43 pm
Reply to  Engineer Tom

@Engineer Tom,

TATA produced specialist grades for the two carriers. Unfortunately, the RN doesn’t get them very often and there is little political pressure for the RN to ‘source UK’……well until very recently there was little political pressure.

Allan
November 3, 2015 6:45 pm

@GNB,

“I’d guess the position would change if our overall approach to the economy was more dirigiste”

Three cheers for Gloomy.

Jonathan
Jonathan
November 4, 2015 4:09 pm

Yep our steel is more expensive, but we always fail to look at the true cost/benefit of spending tax payers money on anything that supports employment in this country. If x is going to flow back via the tax base, Y is going to offset other government spending ( unemployment costs etc) then only z should be considered as cost when comparing a potentially cheaper purchase outside the economy. I believe that’s what the French tend to do.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 4, 2015 10:50 pm

@Hohum “…the UK is just a crap place for making (basic construction) steel, its far away from the relevant deposits and has high energy and labour costs (which are matters of importance in respect of the high volume/commodity end of the market…fortunately it has great technical expertise in making low volume/high value special melts and a goodly supply of the steel scrap that features heavily in this kind of production…and it can also build steelworks for installation where iron ore and cheap labour are readily available)”

Much better now… :-)

@Allan/Jonathan…saw Will Hutton speak the other night…an interesting man, with some ideas I share and others I very much don’t…but he did come up with one real killer fact. Did either of you chaps know that for the first time since Drake anchored in the Pool of London with Philip of Spain’s Gold in his hold (back in 1581) the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland now owes the World more than the World owes us? A thought that leads me to revisit my instinctive aversion to dirigisme…

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2015 11:09 pm

On your second point should it be a surprise? We are a country of 65 million semi integrated into Europe with ex colonial issues about to spend £167 Billion on maintaining CASD. probably a god decision but let us not pretend anything other than we spend money to ensure we maintain a place well above that which a first look at earth demographics would assign us.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 4, 2015 11:20 pm

…@apats…the change has occurred very recently, and at present the difference is small…suggesting that the odd nudge might rebalance the situation just a little, but back in to our favour…perhaps by adopting a slightly different approach around a handful of key strategic industries, upping the tempo on fracking or some similarly modest adjustment to policy. I’m pretty confident that wouldn’t be a bad thing…

GNB

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2015 11:28 pm

No, it has just been realised very recently. We are now reliant on Alliances to wield influence and that is not a bad thing at all given some of our current and recent Governments.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 5, 2015 12:05 am

…I don’t think there has ever been a time where we have not exerted influence through our alliances with others, and certainly never in Europe and along it’s frontiers…provided those alliances were soundly based and offered mutual benefit along agreed lines. However, the ability to act alone can also be important in some circumstances…as to the question of the national account, my impression was the change in question was comparatively recent, but then in economics “pretty recent” might be some time ago…I forget the date Will Hutton quoted to be honest, but I find the idea interesting and mean to understand it better; starting by reading his latest book…

Until I’ve done that, I hesitate to comment further.

GNB

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 5, 2015 5:46 am

We are in good company, the last figure on each line being the net int’l investment position in % of GDP
France 2014 −19.5[17]
United Kingdom 2014 −24.8[17]
Italy 2014 −27.7[17]
Brazil 2014 −33.1
Mexico 2014 −33.3
Czech Republic 2014 −35.6[17]
United States 2014 −39.7

and [17] after the figure denoting a sterling standard having been applied by Eurostat, so they are more comparable than some others

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
November 5, 2015 5:53 am

Is this the same person speaking ” about to spend £167 Billion on maintaining CASD” who reprimanded me for using the 100 bn over the life figure?

Is it that the renewal of missiles from 2040 onwards has been added, or where does this one come from?

Chris
Editor
Chris
November 5, 2015 7:26 am

After ACC posted a link on the Open Thread to this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_international_investment_position I did a bit of searching in the tables for unexpected facts. I commented there but will repat the comment here as it seems entirely relevant to the above discussion.

The big surprise (to me) was looking at the economic success of Luxembourg – its a tiny state, but very wealthy, and the analysis of its export make-up shows over 50% is from old fashioned manufacturing, from iron steel and aluminium production and vehicle manufacture (whole and components) mainly. All the stuff the UK Gov’t can’t be fussed to support (presumably because they don’t think it pays – how wrong can they be).

Chris
Editor
Chris
November 5, 2015 7:57 am

Oh and I concur with Gloomy’s assessment that things have happened in recent years (the last 20 or so) that have dramatically reversed our balance of payments. Bear in mind the figures include personal as well as gov’t components – all the shopping we do with Amazon is direct import as they are officially centred in (funny old thing) Luxembourg, many ebay sellers of new stuff are Chinese businesses bypassing warehouse costs, and so on.

Because of internet shopping, in very real ways its physically easier to buy directly from a Chinese business than it is to try to buy a similar UK made item. And despite shipping costs (absolutely minimal in shared containers) the UK business can’t hope to match the cost.

With the current ‘Buy cheapest* from anywhere’ Gov’t policy, what this means is we send all our cash to foreign parts. Free trade it was labelled, but there’s nothing free about it; it costs us a packet. All that cash is potential investment. Without thinking we are investing in the prosperity of far away places while we all watch our own industrial infrastructure crumble. “Something must be done!” the Unions cry when yet another business reduces staff. But we’re all complicit – the Korean TV and smartphones, the German car, the Italian white goods, PCs from Eire, clothes made in India, holidays abroad not in the UK, even the groceries are these days likely (courtesy of Aldi and Lidl) to be directly from German warehouses. And the Gov’t is busy doing just the same – Japanese trains, Franco-Chinese power stations, American defence products. At the same time the Gov’t sits on its hands as foreign owners buy out any business they want.

Other nations, it seems, manage to care for their own industries while abiding by international rules, and clearly they have done very well out of it – far better than Free Market Britain. Its about time our Governments (all colours equally to blame) started looking after the UK’s long term interest rather than just buying our votes with our own taxes.

*The rule is ‘buy cheapest’, not ‘buy best value’. Back in the 70s my Dad worked in the County Council’s Architects Dep’t, designing schools, fire stations, police stations and so on. There was decades of experience of the various contractors that would bid – some were diligent, some bid high in the hopes of a surprise win, some never quite delivered what was promised. A memo was distributed that mandated the cheapest bid that promised compliance must be selected. I clearly recall my Dad’s frustration – there was a local contractor who would always put in a low bid and promise compliance, but experience said they would do the job on the cheap and demand extra payments to ‘upgrade’ the scrappiest parts to an acceptable standard, with the final pretty shoddy job often costing more at completion than would the other more reputable bids. A clear case where ‘cheapest’ was more important than ‘best value’.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 5, 2015 11:38 am
Reply to  ArmChairCivvy

Crispin Blunt using Dunces figures but yes it does take it out to 2060.

as
as
November 8, 2015 9:58 pm

Security fears as China lines up bid for historic British firm which supplies key parts for Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3309377/Security-fears-China-lines-bid-historic-British-firm-supplies-key-parts-Royal-Navy-s-nuclear-submarines.html

There go Sheffield Forgemasters then.

stephen duckworth
November 9, 2015 6:04 am
Reply to  as

The biggest creditors for Forgemasters are Wells Fargo ,thro a subsidiary and Barclay’s Bank , let’s hope they will deal with the UK Gov as a preferred bidder first. The Chinese want this company , one because if its almost unique skills ( IIRC Japan is the only other nation that can build commerical reactor core steelwork for the type of reactors in favour at the mo , ironic? ) and they are getting a massive bargin which suits the investment cycle they are in , let’s get out of China , sorry global diversification. Think Indian and Russian oligarch’s in the 90’s and 00’s .