Mersey MP secures Commons glass debate

As St Helens is soon to see the opening of the £54m Glass Futures local MP Conor McGinn has secured a debate in the House of Commons on the glass industry. Tony McDonough reports

 Conor McGinn
St Helens North Labour MP Conor McGinn has secured a Commons debate on glassmaking


St Helens North Labour MP Conor McGinn has secured a debate in the House of Commons on the UK’s £1.3bn glass industry.

On Thursday at around 5pm MPs will take part in an adjournment debate. This is a debate that takes place before the House rises for the day. It will receive an official response from a government minister from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

St Helens has long been associated with glassmaking. In 1773, the British Caste Plate Glass Company was established at Ravenhead, now part of the town. St Helens Crown Glass Company was founded in 1826 by the Pilkington and Greenhall families.

In 1845 the name of the business was changed to Pilkington Brothers and the Pilkington name became famous across the world for glassmaking excellence. Then in June 2006, Japanese glassmaker Nippon Sheet Glass completed a £1.8bn takeover of the firm.

In August 2020, as part of the HyNet hydrogen project, Pilkington achieved a global first by firing 100% hydrogen in part of its furnace. And work is now under way on the £54m Glass Futures facility that will lead the decarbonisation of glassmaking.

Mr McGinn said: “Glass is worth some £1.3 billion to our economy and the vibrant, historic industry behind it remains world-leading to this day.

“From the birthplace in the mid-20th century of the float process at Pilkington, to the work we are currently doing with Glass Futures to revolutionise and decarbonise production, we in St Helens are proud to be at the beating heart of the story.

“I hope my debate will be a chance to celebrate some of the successes of this ever-evolving, innovating industry, as well as to highlight some of the big challenges it faces going forward.”

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