Home > News > UK Government should do more to help steel industry

Click on the link to see Nia on BBC news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-35340718

Commenting on the job losses in the steel industry, Nia Griffith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, said,

“Job losses on this scale are devastating, with each and every one a tragedy for the employee and their family, not to mention the knock – on effect on jobs in the local community, but it is a double tragedy when so much more could have been done so much more quickly by the UK Government, which could have helped avoid this situation. The industry has been very clear: it does not want hand-outs, but it wants a level playing field in order to survive in a highly competitive environment.

Back in 2010, the Chancellor hit the industry with the punishingly high carbon tax, a tax unique to the UK, which is not paid by any of our competitors, inside or outside the EU. In spite of calls from the industry, trade unions and Labour MPs, and even promises back in 2011 from the Chancellor himself of help for the energy intensive industries, he only confirmed this help a month ago, and it is now looking very much like too little too late.

On the question of Chinese imports, even though the UK signed up to the renewal of specific anti-dumping measures in the summer, it is in fact the UK Government which is blocking further EU reform ( of the trade defence mechanisms) which would make it easier to keep Chinese steel out.

At a time of low demand in the private sector, the UK Government should bring forward, not cancel or postpone, infrastructure projects, and make sure that we use British steel in them; that would help both the steel and construction industries, and keep up our skills base.The UK Government should sign up, as the Welsh Government has done, to the Charter for sustainable UK steel, and ensure that British steel is used in publicly funded projects.

Most of the factors which directly affect the steel industry, such as the carbon tax and energy prices, are UK Government issues, but the Welsh Government should do all it can to support those who lose their jobs, and to continue to attract inward investment, and to create skilled jobs in particular.

We will continue to need steel, and, with our highly skilled workforce and TATA’s recent investment in the new blast furnace in Port Talbot, there is every reason why that steel should be made here, but, to ensure that happens, we need urgent action from the UK Government to enable the UK steel industry to compete on a level playing field and secure a future for the UK steel industry.”

Steel mash up