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Plaid Cymru secure urgent debate in the Senedd on the future of Welsh steel industry

24 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Luke Fletcher MS.

The Senedd will hold an urgent debate today following Tata Steel’s plans to close blast furnaces at its Port Talbot plant, affecting over 3,000 jobs.

The call came on Tuesday (January 23) from Plaid Cymru’s Economy Spokesperson, Luke Fletcher MS, who is also a Member of the Senedd for South Wales West, which covers Port Talbot.

It followed a statement from the Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething MS, in which he reaffirmed the Welsh Government’s commitments to working with Tata Steel, trade unions and the UK Government.

Prime Minister

Tata is pledging a £130 million support package to help workers retrain or find new jobs but unions have warned the decision will be devastating for the south Wales economy as well as the steel industry.

The First Minister, Mark Drakeford said he approached Rishi Sunak last week to discuss Tata job losses but the Prime Minister couldn’t find the time to fit it in a phone call.

Mr Fletcher said: “It was shocking but not surprising to learn over the weekend that UK Government, through the Prime Minister, once again has refused to engage constructively with the Welsh Government to protect jobs at Tata.”

The Plaid Cymru MS criticised the UK Government’s lack of willingness to engage with the Welsh Government, stating in the chamber that it was another indication that no UK Government can ultimately be trusted to “stand up for Wales”.

He said: “Nationalisation is needed as a bridge to securing the long-term viability and diversity of domestic steel production in Wales. Investment is needed in the billions, like we’ve seen in Germany, like we’ve seen in France and Spain. The UK Government’s five- hundred million doesn’t even touch the sides.”

In response, Mr Gething called nationalisation a “red herring”. He said: “The
future and the challenges that our workers face today in the steel industry are not
going to be solved by us running a campaign on nationalisation.”

Following the economy minister’s statement, in accordance with Senedd standing orders Luke Fletcher proposed an urgent debate on the future of the Welsh steel industry.

Industry

In the proposal, delivered on the floor of the Senedd, Mr Fletcher said: “Whilst we’ve had time for the Government to answer questions and be scrutinised on their own actions, given the gravity of the situation more time must be allocated in a more appropriate format so that the Senedd as a whole can be afforded the opportunity to discuss ideas and directions for the future of the steel industry.

“This is an issue of national consequence, impacting related industries in Wales as
well as our climate and infrastructure sectors.

“MPs in Westminster will have the opportunity to discuss these issues in a debate in the commons – I believe MSs here in Wales need to be afforded the same
opportunity.”

The proposal was agreed without objection and will be debated in the Senedd on Wednesday (January 24) afternoon.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
28 days ago

Recent Prime Ministers (of both parties) have resorted to a four letter Anglo/Saxon word to describe their feelings about Cymru. This one has added ed to it…

No to 20mph
No to 20mph
28 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Did Drakford put half a billion into the steel works? No.
Oh but he did try to ring Sunak, on the day the closure was announced..
I judge a leader by their actions, not words (we all know politicians can’t lie straight in bed), and Cymru’s ‘leadership’ has been sorely lacking on this issue, amongst others.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
28 days ago
Reply to  No to 20mph

I won’t argue with that. There has been no leadership from virtually all, Liz and a Scot or two excepted…

Jeff
Jeff
28 days ago

Giving time for ARTD to get instructions from No10. Wonder how No10 want him to play this.

Annibendod
Annibendod
28 days ago

In his answer Vaughan Gething gives us a glimpse of a possible future with him as 1st minister – “Sorry chaps, don’t want to upset the apple cart, can’t really do much about it.” About as much use as a glass hammer.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
28 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

The other chap would be no better either…

No to 20mph
No to 20mph
28 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

You give him too much credit.
Atleast you’ll get one good hit out of a glass hammer.
👍

Gareth
Gareth
28 days ago

Due to our devolution settlement our Gov’s hands are tied, as this issue is a ” reserved” matter, to be decided by Westminster. Our Gov can ask, they can even beg for help, but as for anything practical such as taking control and/or nationalising the steel industry here, they are limited to what they can do. Anybody remember during covid when they tried to spend the reserve money they had, to combat covid, and were told by HM Treasury, no you cant.

No to 20mph
No to 20mph
28 days ago

Too little too late. Senedd failed to put a penny toward Port Talbot and actively caused the closing of the last Welsh coal mine. A lot of big talk after the layoffs where announced but as usual no real help or tangible action for voters. I’m no Tory supporter and cannot stand Sunak but at least he put £500m into the works over the last 12 months, but still we’ll bend over backwards to blame Westminster. The fact is this was always coming as the Labour manifesto in the last election prioritised getting Wales to net zero, we put them… Read more »

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