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Future of Tata Steel of ‘great concern’, says Starmer on Wales visit

08 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer speaks during an interview at the Senedd. Photo Alastair Grant/PA Wire

Sir Keir Starmer has described the future of Tata Steel as being of “great concern” following a meeting with the Vaughan Gething on the final stop of his tour of the devolved nations.

The Prime Minister visited the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Monday to meet the First Minister, and Jo Stevens, the Secretary of State for Wales.

Sir Keir’s trip follows visits to the other devolved nations, having stopped in Belfast earlier on Monday and Scotland on Sunday.

He arrived at the Welsh Parliament having promised an “immediate reset” of the relationship between the Westminster Government and devolved nations.

It also comes amid concerns about job losses at Tata steelworks in Port Talbot, where around 2,800 jobs are at risk.

Collaborate

Speaking after his meeting with Mr Gething in the Cabinet Room, the Prime Minister said he wanted to “collaborate” with the devolved nations and develop “mutual respect and trust”.

Sir Keir had been due to speak to reporters on the balcony of the Senedd, overlooking Cardiff Bay.

However, a small but noisy crowd of around a dozen pro-Palestinian protesters outside the Welsh Parliament forced interviews to be moved to the fifth floor.

Speaking to broadcasters, the Prime Minister said: “It’s very important to me to reset relations with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, because I want to make sure that we collaborate, there’s mutual respect and trust.

“Here in Wales it’s particularly important because what I said before the election is that a Labour government would be a game changer, because you would have a UK government, working with the Welsh Government, delivering for Wales, rather than the conflict.

“This is an early recommitment to what I said in the campaign to come here physically on the third day (of being Prime Minister), to have discussions with the First Minister about the long-term objectives and of course, about some of the pressing issues, including Tata Steel, which is of great concern to me, to the First Minister and to so many people here in Wales.”

‘Bad state’

Sir Keir described the economy as being in a “bad state” and said his party now had to get on and “deliver that change”.

The Labour governments in Wales and Westminster are pushing Tata not to pursue any compulsory redundancies, with promises of £3 billion in extra funding for the steel industry in the UK.

Announcing his UK tour, Sir Keir said his party’s landslide victory in the General Election has given Labour “a clear mandate to govern for all four corners of the United Kingdom”.

Labour emerged from last week’s elections as the largest party in Wales in Westminster, with the Conservatives wiped out for the first time since 2001.

Ahead of the visit, Sir Keir described Wales as having “enormous untapped potential ready to be unleashed”.

He said: “Working in lockstep with the Welsh Government and Vaughan, my Government will place the people and communities of Wales front and centre as we move towards a decade of national renewal.

“That means turning the page on years of economic hardship, towards genuine shared prosperity for working people, so they see and feel real, tangible change in their lives.”

Sir Keir campaigned alongside the embattled First Minister during the General Election.

No confidence vote

Mr Gething has faced calls to quit after he lost a no confidence vote last month.

It came following the collapse of the co-operation deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru and a series of rows involving Mr Gething and donations to his leadership campaign from a man who has been convicted of environmental offences.

His party has been forced to defend Mr Gething’s continued presence in the top role in Wales, with Kim Howells, a former Pontypridd Labour MP, describing him as “damaged goods” during an interview with BBC Radio Wales on Sunday.

Mr Howells said Labour needs to change the Welsh leader “sooner rather than later” with fears the issue could impact the party’s chances in the Senedd elections in 2026.

Mr Gething has always insisted that he has broken no rules and Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens said he has her “complete support”.

Ahead of Sir Keir’s visit to Wales, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth and his party’s four MPs requested a meeting with the Prime Minister.


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Matt Evans
Matt Evans
6 days ago

So the great reset is for Starmer to just talk to the people that answer directly to him, not Plaid or Lib Dem

Adrian
Adrian
6 days ago

Oh well….if it’s of ‘great concern’ everything’s going to be fine.

Howie
Howie
5 days ago

Great comfort to the PT workers I’m sure, we had similar platitudes when I left Llanwern.
I was lucky had skills as a electrical engineer, prior to Llanwern, that kept me employed elsewhere others not so.

Mandi A
Mandi A
5 days ago

Note Jo Stevens’ words quoted in the Daily Post: “Wales has a crucial role to play in powering the UK’s national renewal, contributing to our energy security and the industries that will deliver a prosperous future.”

Wales works, UK benefits. Wylfa B gets built along with countless onshore wind and solar farms. Egino and the push for SMRs will stay in place despite its demise being announced for the autumn. Coal, iron, water, now nuclear and natural resources. And Wales will still be a nice playground for the holidays. Watching . . .

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