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Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader to call for Welsh steel industry to be nationalised

23 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Liz Saville Roberts – Photo UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor.

Emily Price

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts will call for the steel industry to be nationalised and the creation of a Welsh steel co-operative in a speech later today.

Her comments come following confirmation last week that Tata Steel plans to cut 2,800 jobs from its UK workforce and close both blast furnaces in Port Talbot.

Tata has said its current operations are financially unviable and will end the production of primary steel, also known as virgin steel, this year.

The UK Government is contributing £500m towards the cost of an electric arc furnace.

In comparison, Germany has invested €2.6 billion (£2.2 billion) to support Stahl-Holding-Saar decarbonise its steel production through hydrogen use in one region alone.

Germany’s economy ministry is also planning €50 billion (£42.8 billion) in tax breaks over the next four years to help industry and businesses cope with high energy prices.

Plaid Cymru has urged the UK Government to act to save the steel industry through public investment on the scale offered by Germany.

 Crash

The party’s Westminster leader has also called for investment in the capacity to produce primary steel through green hydrogen furnaces, following the example of Spain, Canada and Sweden.

Ms Saville Roberts drew a comparison with the 2008 financial crash, asking “we could save the banks in 2008, why can’t we do the same for steel now?”

During the debate in Westminster this evening, Ms Saville Roberts is expected to say:“Steel is a strategically important industry for the entire UK. It is vital for supporting the green transition, from energy generation to electric cars.

“For decades successive Westminster governments have allowed the steel industry to decay with the short-term vision of lemmings and the sense of social justice of hyenas.

“Plaid Cymru has called for action to ensure that ownership of the Welsh steel industry should be returned to Welsh public control. This would involve nationalisation, then recapitalisation through green bonds, with a view to mutualise and create a Welsh Steel Co-operative.

“We could save the banks in 2008, why can’t we do the same for steel now?

“Look at Germany, who spent €2.6 billion in state aid to steel producers for decarbonisation projects in 2023. This is the sort of scale of intervention we need.

“We must also learn from other countries such as Spain, Canada and Sweden who are already investing in their capacity to produce primary steel through green hydrogen furnaces.

“There are lessons here for Wales. There are suggestions that a ‘closed-loop cycle’ could be created in south Wales, whereby floating offshore wind is not only used for electricity but to make green hydrogen for local heavy industry, including steel production.

“These are the sorts of exciting opportunities which we should be grasping now in Wales. Yet we are being let down yet again by a Westminster Government who are stripping Welsh assets while leaving the Senedd to bear the costs of communities and individual lives thrown on the scrap heap.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Sing it loud Liz…

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Thatcher went for the loot and set the demise in, Brexit patted the cross down on the grave. (Johnson and Farage said Steel making would cease if we stayed in the EU, anyone voting ting for their sides?)

Correct call though.

Micky Droy
Micky Droy
30 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Johnson and Farage were right. When the UK were in the EU it prohibited the UK from nationalising the Steel industry. The MPs who voted to remain in the EU deliberately sabotaged Brexit. That’s why the Steel works are being shut down. Oh and the Senedd and its climate change net zero madness.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

At last an MP standing up for the rights of Welsh people. Rare

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Ms Roberts is more and more filling the shoes of Mr Llwyd…

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago

Absolutely spot on and would also secure the future of Trostre Works which depends on the steel chemistries produced by the blast furnaces via the hot mill. Trouble is that the British Crach couldn’t give a monkey’s. Their great cash cow is the finance sector. That’s why they bailed out the banks to the tune of hundereds of billions but will barely scrabble around the back of the couch for some loose change for industry. There is no industrial strategy in the UK. The comparison with Germany bears consideration. The contrast could not be more stark. Led by donkeys indeed!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Annibendod

A donkey is sure footed and measured, loyal and long suffering. Humanity would not have survived without the donkey. This reputation is from Greek classical times and is a slur…

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Ie wir. It is difficult to imagine an animal so nasty, yet so stoopid that it can be used as a metaphor for a series of UK and Welsh governments. Successive regimes have gone daft on P.R simply because they can’t be bothered to think things through beyond that first “image” step. Too many politicians and advisers hooked on questions like – “Will this policy make me look good ? What will promote my career progression? Will I get a cushy number in the City or with a globalist corporation when I quit the House ( and ideally get to… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

The Tories must dread the voice of truth and reason standing up in the Commons to expose their plans of decimation. They just want her to ‘go away and shwt wp’. (Gavin Williamson quote).

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