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  1. ITV Report

UK and Welsh Governments clash over commitment to steel

The UK Government has denied the First Minister's claim that Theresa May is not as committed to the future of Port Talbot steelworks as David Cameron was when he was Prime minister.

A spokesperson said the Prime Minister had visited the steelworks in July and that the package of support for a future owner is still available if Tata Steel sells the plant. A consultation on what should happen to the pension liabilities was launched in the summer.

A great deal of work has been done to support the steel industry including tackling the dumping of cheap imports into the EU and introducing guidelines so that wherever possible UK steel is used in government projects. The recent re-opening of the plate mills in Scotland and British Steel taking over the Scunthorpe site and hiring more people, shows the sector can remain competitive with the right investment.

We are focused on working with the industry and partners on safeguarding the long-term sustainable future of the steel industry in the UK.

– UK Government Spokesperson

Carwyn Jones criticised Theresa May's approach when he was questioned by an assembly scrutiny committee. He said that there had been no progress on pensions since Theresa May became Prime Minister and that although the situation at Tata had improved, Port Talbot "wasn't out of the woods".

Carwyn Jones giving evidence to the Assembly committee Credit: Senedd TV

The UK government is not engaging in the same way that it did when the previous Prime Minister was there and that's something that they need to readdress.

I think it's fair to say that David Cameron did take quite a strong personal interest in the future of the steel industry and was prepared to consider options that were unusual. But that's gone now, with this current government. They do need to understand that in order to secure a future for the steel industry they need to take more interest than they have done so far.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Mr Jones called on the Chancellor in his autumn statement to do something about energy prices in his autumn statement next week. He said that steel industry in Wales is paying 46% more for its energy than in some other countries.

The UK government says it has already acted to exempt steel producers and other energy intensive industries from the full price impact of energy and climate change policies.