2015 Result:
Conservative: 12259 (34.2%)
Labour: 15393 (42.9%)
Lib Dem: 770 (2.1%)
Green: 887 (2.5%)
UKIP: 6329 (17.7%)
Independent: 206 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 3134 (8.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: Yorkshire and the Humber, Humberside. Part of North Lincolnshire council area.

Main population centres: Scunthorpe.

Profile: Consists of the town of Scunthorpe itself and a stretch of flat countryside and small villages to the south of the M180. Scunthorpe itself is a gritty industrial town, dominated by the steel industry and its support services. Tata Steel are by far the biggest local employer.

Politics: Scunthorpe is a reliable Labour seat, held by the party since 1987. The former MP Elliot Morley was one of those caught up in the expenses scandal, accused of continuing to claim interest on a mortgage after the mortgage itself had been paid off. Morley stood down at the 2010 election and was later prosecuted and sentenced to sixteen months imprisonment for false accounting.

Current MP
NICHOLAS DAKIN (Labour) Born 1955. Educated at Longslade Upper School and Hull University. Former teacher. Leader of North Lincolnshire Council 1997-2003. First elected as MP for Scunthorpe in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 12091 (33%)
Lab: 14640 (40%)
LDem: 6774 (18%)
UKIP: 1686 (5%)
Oth: 1843 (5%)
MAJ: 2549 (7%)
Con: 8392 (26%)
Lab: 17355 (53%)
LDem: 5556 (17%)
UKIP: 1361 (4%)
MAJ: 8963 (27%)
Con: 9724 (29%)
Lab: 20096 (60%)
LDem: 3156 (9%)
Oth: 649 (2%)
MAJ: 10372 (31%)
Con: 10934 (26%)
Lab: 25107 (60%)
LDem: 3497 (8%)
Oth: 399 (1%)
MAJ: 14173 (34%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JO GIDEON (Conservative) Businesswoman and communications consultant. Thanet councillor since 2003.
NICHOLAS DAKIN (Labour) See above.
SIMON DODD (Liberal Democrat) Solicitor.
STEPHEN HOWD (UKIP) Educated at Westminster School and Oxford University. Barrister. Contested Cleethorpes 2001 for the Conservative party.
PAUL ELSOM (Independent) Lorry driver.
DES COMERFORD (Independent) Retailler.
Comments - 65 Responses on “Scunthorpe”
  1. Yet more industry is disappearing. There ws little enough already.

    If anything happens to the financial sector the UK will be in deep, deep, trouble.

    At the individual level, this means that people who don’t have a narrow set of skills are written off, unless they can get jobs through contacts instead of ability.

    I used to be interested as a student in psychometric tests to identify career interests, but what is the point when so many jobs are all the same? And when politicians show so little interrest in helping people to develop worthwhile careers matching their interests, is it surprising that so many people are so disillusioned with politics?

  2. Tata is looking to divest the Scunthorpe plant so most likely it will eventually suffer Redcar’s fate.

    As well as the halving of UK steel demand since 2000 which I discussed on the Redcar thread, the problem at Scunthorpe is that the steelworks is inland. Almost all raw materials are imported so this incurs expensive transport costs. Most competitive integrated steelworks today are on the coast, as Port Talbot and Redcar both are. As Frederic mentioned, in the end this comes down to decades of underinvestment. For a sustainable future the plant should have been relocated 20 miles to the coast decades ago.

  3. Con gain

  4. “No Deal Brexit” tariffs published by the government this morning show that average tariffs on steel imports will be reduced to just 0.8%. Current tariffs on certain countries and products (notably many Chinese steels) are 30% and even higher…presumably these will all disappear. Without doubt this would probably destroy the entire UK upstream steel industry pretty quickly, as nearly happened in 2015.

  5. Call me heartless, but I’d be quite indifferent about the end of our steel industry, as long as the government put some of the money we saved from cheaper steel into compensating or retraining those who lose out into new careers. I just don’t share the emotional attachment to working-class manufacturing jobs that many middle-class lefties have.

    I’d prefer to see more people in Britain doing things where Britain is competitive.

  6. Well given you’re indifferent to me potentially losing my livelihood, I don’t feel guilty about being indifferent that my objection to concreting over southern England makes it likely you will never be able to afford a house 🙂 Dontcha just love this new unified UK?

    Seriously though, without a domestic steel industry all the UK’s car, train, aerospace and shipbuilding plants will likely disappear as well (high quality steels do not travel well). The national security implications for some of that would be quite grave.

  7. There is a lot of job losses coming. Retail is heading for several big thousands of employers companies collapsing entirely soon.

  8. Fair play, Hemmy 🙂 Maybe my conception of manufacturing in this country is as stuck in the eighties as the straw man I constructed.

  9. I don’t disagree with your comment in theory, it is just that “competitiveness” is a highly complicated concept in this instance. The history of the steel industry in the UK is one of many decades of failure, much of it caused by a curious mix of government meddling and indifference. It is sadly very difficult for market forces to now overcome that sorry legacy. Without retaining a heavy manufacturing base we will however find the future very tough indeed. It is simple economics that you can’t import more than you produce and export forever without the money running out, or the exchange rate continually weakening.

  10. “It’s simple economics that you can’t import more than you export…”

    But what’s wrong with importing steel and exporting financial services?

  11. Nothing, but do you seriously think that we can grow our export of financial services? Even disregarding Brexit, the intense competition from Singapore etc is going to shrink the financial services business in the west just as China has shrunk our manufacturing.

    The best and most realistic way of improving our trade balance, which we have to do to avoid eventual economic ruin, is to consume less imports and increase domestic production of products for which that is feasible, currently steel is on that list. Also of course recycling steel scrap into domestic steel output avoids the environmentally disastrous habit of dumping it all in places like Indonesia (along with plastics, that is now getting much harder anyway).

    Even if Brexit is in the end incidental to these huge challenges, it is a major distraction from the government focusing on them.

  12. HH is right re steel – especially from a national security point of view.

    You can of course suck in more imports than you export (we did this at the height of the boom in the ’80s), but I agree it isn’t something you should aim for long term.

    Hammond interestingly just said (if he’s right about no deal causing a downturn) that they’d have to be careful not to take measures that hike inflation, because our economy is almost at full capacity and employment etc.

    PT – incidentally even the EU doesn’t have free trade in financial services.

  13. PT – you are however right re Galloway et al wanting to reopen the mines as a nostalgic Left viewpoint (because they assume that’s what today’s working class want to do).

    But shipbuilding and aerospace are actually expanding and taking on apprentices in the North West [so we shouldn’t assume terminal decline in all traditional industries ‘up North’]

    I recall a few on here mocking both myself and Frank Field when both predicted Cammell Lairds and Birkenhead in general had a future in the former. It’s important to maintain those skills for in the event that future contracts arise (as ended up happening).

    800,000 are still employed in defence – and as it’s Cheltenham this week I’m reminded that horse racing is the 8th biggest industry in the UK, so a vegan take on policy is hardly likely to ever happen.

  14. To both Lancs Observer and Polltroll-

    If we go to No Deal I expect we will see the very low temporary tariff rates increase across a range of products, at least on predatory suppliers like China. I’ve showed you the pleading that we in the steel sector will make; that will be replicated across multiple other industries.

    Polltroll’s view that the Chinese export low value stuff to us and we export high value stuff to them is way out of date. Increasingly we are getting high tech stuff from them and their imports from us increasingly consists of low value items like fish and pork. Even more so re China and the USA.

  15. “But shipbuilding and aerospace are actually expanding and taking on apprentices in the North West [so we shouldn’t assume terminal decline in all traditional industries ‘up North’]

    I recall a few on here mocking both myself and Frank Field when both predicted Cammell Lairds and Birkenhead in general had a future in the former. It’s important to maintain those skills for in the event that future contracts arise (as ended up happening).”

    Much of the work in shipbuilding is actually ship-breaking or refitting, which is highly dangerous given asbestos contamination etc. In the past 20 years we’ve increasingly dumped such dirty jobs on China etc, who are now refusing to do it and making the west clean up its own mess. The same with “recycling” – much of which is exported and dumped. Cleaning up our own mess is going to be a growing industry requiring high-skills if it to meet safety and environmental standards.

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