1. ITV Report

'Up to £800m' invested in Welsh steelworks

Tata is Wales' biggest private-sector employer Photo: ITV News Wales

Steel giant Tata has committed to investing up to £800 million in its operation in Wales over the next five years. The company, which has major sites in Port Talbot, Llanelli and Newport, has announced several rounds of job losses in the last six months.

This is a concrete thing that shows the commitment of Tata Steel to South Wales. In difficult times, this is a good vote of confidence in the future of steelmaking in Wales.

– Tata Steel spokesperson

The First Minister has welcomed Tata's investment plans, which he said were explained to him during the Welsh Government's trade mission to India last week. He met the company's vice chairman, Mr B Muthuraman, in Mumbai, who said the Port Talbot site was "one of the best in Europe for steelmaking."

Mr Muthuraman paid tribute to the quality of the workforce available in Wales and recognised the importance of the continuing partnership with the Welsh Government in creating confidence for long term investment decisions. He noted too that Port Talbot is one of the best sites in Europe for steelmaking.

– Carwyn Jones, First Minister

The money will be used to improve production, product mix, quality and product range at their Welsh plants. Tata told ITV Wales that the £800 million figure includes an £185-million investment in rebuilding a blast furnace at its Port Talbot site, which was announced in 2010 and begins this summer. A £53-million investment in a new cooling system, also at Port Talbot works and announced last April, is also included. The remainder of the money has not yet been allocated to specific projects.

Nearly quarter of a billion pounds of investment in Tata's Port Talbot works has already been announced Credit: ITV News Wales

In December, the Indian steel giant announced than more than a hundred jobs were to go at its site at Llanwern, in Newport. 70 job cuts were outlined the previous month. In March, staff at the Newport works, and Tata's site at Trostre, Llanelli, were invited to take a pay cut and stay at home.The company said that it was trying to avoid redundancies and retain skills amid a falling demand for steel.

Carwyn Jones says further short-term investment, like the one announced today, would go towards securing the jobs of the workers already there.

The first objective is to secure the jobs that are already there, and unless the investment is put in, in the short-term, then those jobs are at risk. I would then expect, in the future, for more jobs to be created as Port Talbot expands.

– Carwyn Jones, First Minister