Minister considering steel business rates cut in Wales

The steel industry is facing 'a perfect storm' according to one union Credit: ITV News

The Economy Minister says she's considering calls to cut business rates to help the steel industry in Wales.

Edwina Hart held a summit of bosses and union leaders to discuss the Welsh Government's response to an increasing crisis in the industry.

She said she was looking at calls to act on business rates, which are now fully devolved to ministers in Cardiff, and on offering training to prepare steelworkers for an upturn in the future.

But Ms Hart said she would keep the pressure on the UK Government to cut energy prices and to come up with an industrial strategy.

One of those at the summit was Alan Coombs of the Community union who's based at Tata Steel's Port Talbot plant.

He said the British industry was facing 'a perfect storm' from a combination of cheap Chinese steel, high energy prices and carbon taxes and the value of the pound against the Euro.

After the meeting I asked Edwina Hart what action the Welsh Government would take in response to the concerns she'd just heard. You can see her response in the video below.

'Not standing aside'

There were calls at the summit for the UK Government to act more quickly to bring down the high cost of energy that the steel industry says is causing it severe problems.

The Prime Minister has said that his government will compensate steel firms but is waiting for a ruling from the European Commission.

Edwina Hart said today that that might be 'too little too late.'

However the Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said that ministers in London are already fully involved in doing all they can to help the steel industry.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats say they've been promoting the idea of scrapping business rates on plant and machinery for some time, making it official party policy in September.

Economy spokesperson Eluned Parrott said: