STEEL tariffs are to be extended to protect UK industry from unfair competition, the Government has announced.

The decision, announced by International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss this evening, means the UK, acting as an independent trading nation post-Brexit, has been able to retain protections which safeguard steel manufacturers in Teesside, Cardiff, Scunthorpe and Rotherham.

The tariffs would otherwise have naturally expired today, leaving the UK open to the risk of cheap imports flooding the domestic market.

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: “This government, independent and free from EU bureaucracy, is fighting tooth and nail for UK steel manufacturing.

“Today the Government chose to retain tariffs that are protecting our steel industry against unfair competition. This is what is right for our country and what is right for the steel making in Teesside.

“The Conservative Steel Caucus – fellow Conservatives representing steel producing constituencies – is delighted by the support we have received from the Government in standing up for UK steel.

“While Labour have been putting out paid releases on Facebook saying we weren’t doing anything, myself and the Caucus have been locked in talks with senior ministers to speak up for our area and local jobs.

“I want to thank the Prime Minister, his Chief of Staff and the Trade Secretary, Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, as well as the Chancellor and British Steel for everything they have done to achieve this outcome.

“This is the second time in as many years that British Steel has faced a really major challenge and the second time Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has come through for the industry.

“While Labour play politics on social media, we’ve been working hard to protect jobs and fortify the vital strategic asset that is the UK steel industry. That’s what good MPs do for their communities.”

Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “This is a huge win for British Steel and for Teesside, safeguarding more than 800 jobs in Redcar and Cleveland.

“Today the Prime Minister and the Government have made a clear statement to the rest of the world - we will stand by our Steel Industry and give it the backing it needs.

“It’s a decision that protects jobs, protects the UK from unsound international actors and helps secure the steelmaking tradition that is in our blood here in Teesside.

“This is absolutely vital as we look to the future of steel-making on Teesside and the potential for a new electric arc furnace.

“Reaching this point is a result of a lot of hard work from Conservative colleagues across the UK. For me this is what being an MP is all about - standing up for your constituency and achieving the best possible outcomes for the Country as a whole.

“Meanwhile Labour MPs seem to think being a keyboard warrior on Facebook and playing cheap political games is going to achieve anything meaningful - they’re wrong about that just as they’re wrong about so many things.

“We’ll leave them to their games while we get on with the job of actually getting things done.

“We are absolutely delighted with this outcome and I want to thank the Prime Minister in particular for taking this momentous decision which so directly affects constituents in Redcar and the future of our region as a whole.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Steel is in the blood of every Teessider, and the industry is still hugely important to Teesside and local workers.

“The news that Boris Johnson’s government has taken the decision to keep tariffs that are protecting our steel industry against unfair competition will be welcomed by everyone in the region.

“Since it became clear that some of the measures that have been protecting UK steel were at risk of being removed, I’ve worked closely with local MP’s and British Steel to press the government to keep these critical protections in place.

“British Steel in Redcar employ more than 800 people and this momentous decision means they do not need to worry that their jobs are now at risk because of unfair competition.

“I want to thank the Prime Minister and his team along with the Business Secretary and the Chancellor for all they have done to ensure protections for this strategically important industry remain.

“Today’s decision will mean jobs right across Teesside are protected and we can continue to make world-class steel products.”