DORSET firm John Reid & Sons Ltd (REIDsteel) has become the first contractor in the UK to sign up to a new campaign to revitalise the steel sector.

The Christchurch-based business has backed the UK Steel Charter, which aims to maximise the use of British-made metals.

It adds its name alongside such signatories as Heathrow Airport, the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Welsh and Scottish governments on the charter, which has been launched by trade body UK Steel.

REIDsteel designs, makes and builds steel structures of all kinds across the UK, Europe and the world. It directly employs 130 people at its main base and at peak times provides work for 400 people through subcontracting of fabrication and installation.

Managing director Simon Boyd, who is a member of the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) manufacturing council, said: “A thriving UK steel sector is incredibly important for the country’s manufacturing bases, national infrastructure and wider economy.

"Our company has relied on British-made products for the majority of our 100 year history and we were pleased to recently make British Steel our preferred supplier.

“We are very proud to be able to further demonstrate our commitment by becoming the first steel work contractor to sign the UK Steel Charter.

“I hope that other firms in our sector will follow our lead, and that the new Government will give the British steel industry all of the support it needs to flourish in the future.”

UK Steel director general Gareth Stace said: “We are thrilled that REIDsteel are the first steelwork contractor to sign the UK Steel Charter.

“The UK Steel Charter seeks to encourage more steel buyers to buy British and therefore maximise the value to the UK economy of major construction and infrastructure projects.

“Every 100,000 tonnes of UK produced steel supports 1,100 jobs in the UK and adds £71 million to the UK economy, compared to the use of imported steel.

“It is simply common sense to use UK produced steel to help maximise the added value of construction and infrastructure projects and support UK jobs and the UK economy."

“REIDsteel are joining Heathrow, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Welsh Government and Scottish Government in signing the Charter.

“We look forward to working with them and encouraging more contractors to sign up in 2020.”

British Steel, which is leading the charter initiative with UK Steel, also welcomed REIDsteel’s backing for the charter.

Acting chief executive Ron Deelen said: “The Steel Charter is gaining significant momentum across business, government and industry.

“It is vital that it receives support from every link in the supply chain and across multiple sectors of the economy.

“The addition of REIDsteel as the first steel work contractor is welcomed and we hope that other steelwork contractors will also show their support for this great initiative.”

The UK steel sector makes a £1.6 billion direct contribution to UK GDP and supports a further £3.9 billion.