Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is being asked to step up the battle against restrictions on steel imports, following the European Commission’s decision to extend them by three years.

There are concerns in many areas, including the automobile sector, which is already hampered by supply shortages.

Simon Bailes, who operates three car dealerships in Stockton, Northallerton and Guisborough, said the continuation of such measures ignores the needs of end steel users, such as car manufacturers.

He said: “The current situation facing downstream steel users is due to a unique set of circumstances brought about by the pandemic.

“The EC’s extension of import restrictions has created a situation where EU steel producers are dictating prices and the market has become overheated. I urge Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to keep the situation under review and apply whatever pressure he can in order to resolve this issue.

“Any lifting of restrictions would be a temporary measure and does not present a threat to EU steel producers. It would also support the automotive industry, which is itself critical to the EU economy, providing 13.8 million jobs directly and indirectly."