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Economy Committee to hear from steel bosses on future of Port Talbot

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Assembly Members will today hear from steel bosses on the progress of talks over the selling of Port Talbot's steelworks.

The National Assembly's Economy Committee is set to hear evidence from Tata Steel, Liberty Steel, unions and First Minister Carwyn Jones AM.

Since the election, there has been a marked drop in public discussion of the industry. As a committee we were keen to shine a light on what has happened since then, and whether the urgency and spirit of cooperation that characterised the initial reaction to job losses at Tata Steel in Port Talbot has continued.

Today’s meeting will hear from the employers, employees and First Minister Carwyn Jones. The committee has also written detailed questions to UK Government Minister Nick Hurd to hear how he is taking on the issues, since he became the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry.

Steel remains a vital component of Wales’ economy, and following the appointment of a new Government in Cardiff Bay and new Ministers in Westminster over the summer, the committee wants to ensure that momentum has not been lost. Our predecessors on the Economy and Business Committee called for concerted action on energy costs, business rates, procurement, tariffs on foreign steel – I look forward to exploring whether action has been delivered, and whether it has been sufficient to provide some medium term certainty to the industry.

– Russell George AM, Chair of the Economy Committee


Union 'encouraged' after Business Secretary visit to Port Talbot

The new Business Secretary has met workers at Port Talbot steel plant which still has doubts over its long-term future.

Credit: Ben Birchall / PA Wire

Steel giant Tata has halted plans to sell the huge site and is working on keeping its UK business as part of a joint venture with German conglomerate Thyssen Krupp.

Greg Clark, the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, visited the Port Talbot works yesterday and met workers and union officials.

I am encouraged that Greg Clark has met with steelworkers in his first week on the job. He will have left today in no doubt that Community will keep the pressure on this Government to keep their promises to protect the steel industry.The new Secretary of State clearly understands the scale of the challenge still facing the industry, but his words to steelworkers today must be followed by firm actions to help save their jobs. By visiting Port Talbot, he will have seen first-hand that the highly skilled workforce is the foundation on which any success for this industry will be built.

– Roy Rickhuss, Community union


Plaid Cymru AM "deeply disappointed" at news of Tata sale suspension

Plaid Cymru AM Adam Price has said he is "deeply disappointed" at the news that steel giant Tata is to suspend its sales process in the UK.

Credit: PA

On Friday it was announced that the planned sale of the Port Talbot plant would be halted, after talks with potential bidders in Mumbai.

The company released a statement saying that they will look at "alternative and more sustainable" solutions for the European part of their business, adding they are now talking to "strategic players" in the steel industry.

I am very concerned at the news of the suspension of the sales process and am deeply disappointed that the Wales-led management and worker buyout will not be able to go to the next stage of the process.

We have heard speculation that one of the alternative solutions is a potential link-up with German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp.

We do not believe that this would be in the long-term interests of the Welsh and UK steel industries.

Indeed if this speculation proves to be accurate and unless an explicit long-term commitment is made to the future of operations in Wales, then we will call on the UK Government to initiate a temporary full nationalisation of Tata's UK operations in order to continue with the sales process.

Merger with the German steelmaker would very likely lead to the closure of the Port Talbot steelworks and the concentration of activity at Ijmuiden, and must be opposed at all costs.

– Adam Price, Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy

Government support 'remains on table' for steel industry

First Minister Carwyn Jones has spoken to David Cameron over the phone regarding the steel industry in Wales, Downing Street has said.

A spokesperson said the two discussed ongoing efforts to support the steel industry in Wales, and agreed that offers of support from the UK and Welsh Governments remain on the table.

Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

The spokesperson added: "They agreed on the importance of both governments continuing to work very closely in partnership to support the steel industry in Wales and across the whole of the UK".

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