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This column appeared in the Llanelli Star on Wednesday 10th April

I am very concerned about the uncertainty over the future ownership of Trostre steelworks.

Last week, we learnt that Tata Steel may look to sell their Llanelli plant to facilitate a merger with German steelmakers Thyssenkrupp. In order to satisfy the competition authorities, Tata’s proposal would involve Trostre remaining as a viable steel manufacturer under a different company, all of which is very unsettling and worrying for the workforce.

Trostre employs around 650 people in Llanelli, and it has been a vital part of our local community and manufacturing base for nearly 70 years. It manufactures, amongst other things, high-quality tinplate steel that is used in food and drink cans around the world, and it supports the UK’s wider steel industry. Trostre is a crucial customer for keeping Port Talbot steelworks viable, and we need much stronger action from UK Government to support our steel industry.

I have been working with Lee Waters AM to support the local workforce and management at Trostre in securing a future for the plant. I raised the issue with First Minister Mark Drakeford, who offered the full support of Welsh Government. He has already spoken to the Chief Executive of Tata Steel Europe following the news, and I and other elected representatives from Llanelli and Port Talbot are setting up our own meeting with the CEO to raise our concerns.

With President Trump’s tariffs on UK steel and uncertainty about Brexit, this is a difficult time for our steel industry. I and other MPs in the steel group are continuing to push the UK Government to take much stronger action to support the industry, such as tackling high energy costs and coming forward with a proper steel sector deal, so as to help secure the future of steel manufacturing here in Llanelli.