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Steelworkers march over crisis as Tata compiles list of bidders for UK assets

Hundreds of steelworkers are marching today to highlight the crisis in their industry as a shortlist of bidders was being drawn up for the UK assets of Tata.

Welsh steelworkers join steel march in Westminster Credit: ITV News

They are calling on the government to "ensure the responsible sale of Tata Steel's UK assets" and to deliver "a proper industrial strategy that supports the entire steel sector".

The board of the Indian conglomerate are meeting in Mumbai to discuss the prospects for a sale which would save thousands of jobs.

MP trust 'declines over distance'

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Voters' trust in Westminster politicians falls the further away from London they live, according to a new survey.

While almost a quarter of those questioned in London (23%) said they would trust politicians in Westminster to allocate spending within their region, the level is lower in the regions and devolved nations:

  • 19% in the East of England
  • 17% in the South of England
  • 15% in the Midlands
  • 14% in Scotland and the North of England
  • 13% in Wales
  • 2% in Northern Ireland

Unveiling the survey as its annual conference opened in London, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) called for more devolution of spending and revenue-raising powers away from Westminster to the regions and nations of the UK.

As trust ebbs away from Whitehall, politicians in Westminster urgently need to make sure that they are empowering and equipping local leaders with the both the means and the powers to ensure that devolution works for local communities.

Westminster cannot just devolve the risk of spending reductions without also devolving the responsibility for raising revenue to meet local demand.

– Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive Cipfa

The survey asked around 2,000 people across the UK.

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'This is a serious issue that must be addressed'

Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire Glyn Davies has welcomed the debate on the current welfare system, saying there are issues that 'must be addressed'.

He explained: "A lot of people are very concerned because they're working hard, doing the right thing and paying tax.. and then somebody else is just living on benefits and not being prepared to work.

"There is a real issue there we've got to look at, and what David Cameron has done is begin a debate about this."

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood condemns welfare reform proposals

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says that the party is completely opposed to the introduction of regional benefit rates. She's claiming that it will institutionalise poverty in some areas of Wales.

The UK Government is working hard to create an anti benefits culture. But it makes no sense to cut support to people when there are so few jobs and opportunities available to them. I and my Plaid Cymru colleagues are seeing more and morer people coming to us for help because they have lost their benefits and introducing regional benefit levels will mean that even more people will struggle to cope in Wales. Introducing regional benefit levels would create low pay areas, institutionalise low ambition and punch a hole in the local economy.

– Leanne Wood AM , Leader of Plaid Cymru

She went on to call on the First Minister Carwyn Jones AM to protect the people of Wales from the proposals:

Today the civil service unions have been out on strike against job cuts. The PCS union has pointed out that tax evasion costs the UK £120 billion each year. Tackling this would be a much more effective exercise for the Government, but it seems that they are more interested in persecuting benefit claimants than the tax evaders among the elite.

How will Wales' First Minister make good his promise to protect the people of Wales from cuts to welfare provision? Too many people are already struggling in Wales yet Cameron's latest pronouncements threaten to push them harder.

– Leanne Wood AM , Leader of Plaid Cymru
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