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Labour politicians ‘engaging in fantasy politics’ over Tata job cuts, says David TC Davies’

19 Jan 2024 4 minute read
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies

Martin Shipton

Welsh Secretary David Davies has accused Labour politicians of engaging in “fantasy politics” over the Tata Steel job losses and putting at risk thousands of further jobs.

The group has confirmed the closure of blast furnace steel production at Port Talbot with the a loss of 3,000 jobs.

Labour has accused the UK Government of letting down the workers and helping to destroy the British steel industry.

But Mr Davies claimed he and his Westminster colleagues had saved thousands more jobs by offering aid to Tata that would see steel production continue at Port Talbot with an electric arc furnace.

‘Unsustainable’

He told Nation.Cymru: “The fact is that Tata’s losses have now risen to £1.5m a day – a sum that is wholly unsustainable. It’s been known for months that 3,000 jobs were highly likely to go with the closure of blast furnace production. While obviously the company had to go through a formal consultation process, what’s been announced should come as no surprise to anyone.

“Far from running away from the situation, the UK Government has intervened to try to put steelmaking on a more stable footing and save many thousands of further jobs.

“The Welsh Government doesn’t have the resources to come up with the kind of money necessary for a rescue package, so it has been up to the UK Government to come up with a deal. We have involved the Welsh Government’s Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, as well as Aberavon’s MP Stephen Kinnock and the local Senedd Member David Rees.

“We’ve set up a Transition Board which I chair and the UK Government is putting in around £600m to ensure investment in the electric arc furnace and training aimed at getting new jobs for the workers who will be made redundant. As a result of our intervention, as many as 12,500 direct and indirect jobs will be saved in the steel industry that would otherwise be lost.”

Unfair

Mr Davies said criticisms of the deal were unfair and based on what he described as “fantasy politics”.

He said: “Some Labour politicians have been trying to make political capital out of this extremely difficult situation, which I think is most unfair and irresponsible. The fact is that Tata is sustaining huge losses at Port Talbot and without our intervention they could have shut the operation down entirely and walked away.

“Of course it’s bad news that thousands of workers are going to lose their jobs, but a total pull-out by Tata would be even worse. Such a possibility might still arise if workers are encouraged to go on strike. I know that everything possible will be done to find new jobs for the redundant Tata workers. The retraining opportunities are first class and jobs are certainly available.

“I haven’t seen a coherent alternative plan put forward by Labour. Some have mentioned converting the plant to hydrogen production, but there is only one plant in the world where that has already happened – at Lulea in northern Sweden, where the costs are around 25% higher.

“People have also suggested that the rescue plan involves an effective end to British steel production. But speaking in pure terms, that’s already happened. The iron ore that is processed at Port Talbot is all shipped in from abroad and currently the plant’s CO2 emissions are among the highest in the UK, if not the highest. Using an electric arc furnace will help Wales reduce its carbon emissions considerably.

“Some Labour politicians have suggested that the Tata plants should be nationalised and that the state should fund steel production. This is also fantasy politics, as I can’t imagine that a Labour government under Keir Starmer would have such an idea on its agenda.”


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hdavies15
hdavies15
4 months ago

Tories are as taken in by the green propaganda as any other party. UK like Wales has hitched its wagon to “Saving the World” while India ( including TATA), China and others will carry on churning out enough steel to meet global demand often done in a more polluting way than the Port Talbot plant. Families in South Wales impoverished but hey they can use their virtue credits to buy food at the store.

Jeff
Jeff
4 months ago

Thatcher continues to haunt us Mr Davies.

How many billions does tata make? They will milk the UK then legit when they see fit.

tulip
tulip
4 months ago

wales is a nation of sanctuary and net zero. we are taking another step to net zero.

Frank
Frank
4 months ago

Are we expected to believe that Tata is losing £1.5 a day? Hands up who believe that!! No company in their right mind operates like that. It’s just a sob story to weasel money out of the government and taxpayer.

Frank
Frank
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank

My comment above should £1.5m.

Lord Custard
Lord Custard
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Exactly, and you can bet that the minute we shut down our steel making, the price will go up for imported steel AND we will be creating more CO2 by importing it !

David Smith
David Smith
4 months ago

The fact is that Tata’s losses have now risen to £1.5m a day” What is the evidence for this statement?

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago

Hes at it again, telling lies, claiming ” the Welsh gov doesn’t have the resources ” ” so it has been up to the UK Gov to come up with a deal “. This type of thing is reserved and under the controll of Westminster. The UK Treasury decides on matters such as this.

Llyn
Llyn
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Yes. I would guess that none of those attacking the WG for not providing enough money in this situation would want the WG to have the financial and legal ability to ever have enough money to be able help in situations like this.

cablestreet
cablestreet
4 months ago

Says the expert on fantasy politics.Severn Crossing tolls anyone?

Lord Custard
Lord Custard
4 months ago

There is the potential for a full scale war with Russia in the future. How are you going to defend us if we don’t have steel making in the UK ? Why do you think that every other country in the G20 is making sure they have steel making capacity ? The level of stupidity in the UK political establishment is mind blowing. You’re worried about CO2 from steel blast furnaces, but you haven’t invested in nuclear power and half our electricity is generated from gas ! CLUELESS!

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