New technology and steel production

Bell, David N.F. and Findlay, Jeanette and Oughton, Christine (1991) New technology and steel production. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 16 (3). pp. 86-94. ISSN 0306-7866

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This paper is a response to a review of our report Steel Production in Scotland: Strategic Considerations for the 1990's. The report was commissioned by Strathclyde Regional Council at a time when British Steel (BS) was known to be reviewing its long term strategy for the production of steel plate. Then, as now, BS's plate production was concentrated at two sites, the Dalzell plate mill in Scotland and the Scunthorpe mill in England. It was well known that one of the main strategies under consideration by BS was the 'single plate mill strategy, which as its name suggests, entails concentration of plate production at a single site. Our brief was to examine the economic case for maintaining, and investing in, plate production in Scotland. Subsequently, a review of our report written by J Love and J Stevens (LS) of Strathclyde University appeared in the Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary. Although they agree with many of the main conclusions of our report, they argue that our evidence is insufficient to support these conclusions. This article discusses each of the issues highlighted in turn.