This week in Parliament Nia Griffith MP and MPs from steel communities across the UK have been quizzing government ministers and urging them to do more to secure the future of the UK steel industry, following the news on Monday that Tata steel is looking to sell off operations at all its UK sites within a 16 week timescale.
Nia Griffith MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, explained:
“We are hearing warm words from Business Secretary Sajid Javid and his Minister Anna Soubry about the importance of the UK steel industry, and I was pleased to hear him talk about co-investment by Government, which sounds as if it might mean some form of direct Government support or temporary nationalisation to save the industry.
He also indicated some understanding of the issue when I asked him what assurances he had obtained from Tata that they will not siphon off production of the most profitable lines to their plants abroad and that the licensing agreements and intellectual property will remain with the Welsh operations, as this will be vital to attract in a suitable buyer and safeguard thousands of jobs in Wales.
However, disappointingly, he failed to outline how the UK Government would deal with the disproportionately high energy costs that the industry faces and he refused back EU plans to take a tougher stance on the dumping of steel by China. These factors are at the heart of why TATA has decided to sell its UK steel business and they need to be dealt before we can secure the future of the industry in the long-term.
I worry that the Business Secretary has not learnt the lessons of the last weeks and months and he still lacks a forward-looking industrial strategy to secure the future of the UK steel industry.”