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Steel leaders' sterling plea

Steel industry leaders yesterday issued a fresh plea to the Government over the level of sterling, saying it had cost pounds 1bn in lost export orders in the last 15 months. Brian Clayton, president of the UK Steel Association, warned this would mean lower investment and fewer jobs and called on ministers to recognise the damage that an over-valued currency was doing to UK manufacturing.

The President of the Board of Trade, Margaret Beckett, told the association's annual meeting that the Government wanted a stable and competitive exchange rate but the best way to achieve this was to avoid the boom and bust policies of the 1980s.