As uncertainty reigns on the future of the Tata Steel plant in Port Talbot, many families across Llanelli will be worried about the impact it will have on those who work both there and at the company’s site in Trostre.
The current crisis in confidence relates to a request for financial support from Tata Steel to the UK Government for help in investing in the Port Talbot facility to modernise its steelmaking process and enable a more rapid transition to a low carbon future. Without significant help, questions will continue as to whether the Welsh steel industry can continue in its present form as one of the nation’s major employers.
The request has sat on the table for some time but has been subject to the usual dither and delay that we have unfortunately become accustomed to from Tory Ministers. While other Governments in Europe have been quick to intervene and support their workers, the Tories have gone missing in action.
Choosing instead to concentrate first on a failed attempt to defend a discredited Prime Minister and then spending their time fighting amongst themselves to decide his successor, day to day decisions on running the country have ground to a halt. The threat to jobs and livelihoods is real. Pushing a decision on this vital, strategic industry back further until a new Tory leader is selected in September at the earliest will not wash.
Along with other Labour MPs and Welsh Labour Government ministers, I have been pressing the UK Government to stop looking the other way and take prompt action to safeguard the valuable economic activity that comes with a viable, thriving steel industry.
They really need to wake up and smell the coffee on this one and provide the necessary support as soon as possible.