There is a failure at the heart of British industry – we do not plan for the future. 

The absence of an industrial strategy from successive governments is why we have chronic manufacturing decline and deep pockets of unemployment scarring communities, and it’s why the rest of the world looks at the UK as a cash cow for their own industrial ambitions. 

This is what political failure looks like. The devastating announcement confirming the compulsory liquidation of the British Steel site in Scunthorpe is another case in point. Uncertainty now surrounds the future of 5,000 direct jobs and up to 20,000 in the supply chain. 

The pain among workers and their families in North Lincolnshire is something that communities in North Lanarkshire know all too well, when the once-mighty Ravenscraig plant closed its doors in 1992. 

Nearly 30 years on, it’s a scandal that the same fate could now befall Scunthorpe. Have our politicians learned nothing? Repeating the mistakes of the past can be avoided and the solution is very obvious. British Steel should be nationalised.

This isn’t ideologically driven, it is a fact that we need a source of domestic steel to meet the industrial and social challenges of the future. 

The UK Government’s target for 60 per cent of future offshore wind sector content to be produced in the domestic supply chain is once such challenge.

Earlier this week, former BiFab workers launched a campaign to demand EDF bring jobs for the manufacture of turbine jackets on the NnG windfarm project to yards in Fife instead of Indonesia.

The steel for these jackets will have a “made in China” stamp but it doesn’t have to be this way.

By nationalising the Scunthorpe site we can save jobs now and offer a future for working-class communities across the country, like Methil and Burntisland. 

From the foundry to the fabrication yard there is a better way, if only our political elite can lift their legacy of failure and start planning for our future today. 

- Gary Smith is GMB Scotland Secretary.