MP visits Small Dole business to discuss TATA steel sale
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited Stoba UK in Small Dole on Friday (15 April) to discuss the wider impacts on the business if steel production at plants owned by TATA were to cease.
Matthew Chart, the Managing Director of Stoba Prazisionstechnik UK, invited the MP to tour the factory and to discuss business concerns relating to the possible closure of TATA steel.
Mr Chart set up the Small Dole business, which is now owned by Stoba and employs 60 people, 7 years ago. The factory engineers parts for fuel systems for a number of truck manufacturers such as DAF, Daimler and Volvo. Every DAF road tractor sold in North America since January 2013 has major parts in it made that have been manufactured in Small Dole.
The parts are produced from a specialist steel blend that can handle immense pressures inside the engine. TATA are the only company that makes this blend of steel which has been developed over many years and is low in impurities, making it the most reliable material to use.
Mr Chart explained his concern that if steel production at TATA's Rotheram plant were to cease, manufacturers which rely on their steel would be forced to look elsewhere for supply. Switching to a new product would mean a long period of testing and validation which could be prohibitively expensive.
Mr Herbert reassured Mr Chart that the Government is working hard to find a buyer for Tata’s steel business, and he had discussed the issue with ministers. He emphasised that everything possible was being done to protect the UK’s steel industry and jobs against the challenges of global overproduction.
Matthew Chart said: “I was very pleased that Nick considered it an important issue and was able to take the time to visit the factory and discuss the potential difficulties that my business could face if some of TATA’s UK operation were to close. We have agreed to stay in contact on this issue as the situation develops over the next few months.”
Mr Herbert said: “I was grateful to Matthew for showing me first hand the importance of UK steel production to his business and local employment. It shows that the effects of steel plant closures would be felt across the country, not just where the plants at located.
“The Government is committed to doing everything possible to maintain the UK's steel industry, and I will strongly support whatever measures they can take, especially given the potential impact on a local business."
1. Photograph – Left to Right - Brian Bliss, Tooling and Process engineer, Nick Herbert, Matthew Chart at the Stoba UK manufacturing plant.