Rees-Mogg opens talks over future of Port Talbot steelworks
The UK business secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has opened talks will the owners of Port Talbot steelworks following warnings the plant could close without government subsidies to reduce carbon emissions.
Prime Minister Liz Truss had promised discussions with Tata Steel about the future of the plant, which is the UK’s largest steelworks and employs 4,000 people, last month.
The UK government has also confirmed it has entered discussions with the Jingye Group, which bought British Steel out of insolvency in 2020 and owns the Scunthorpe steelworks which employs just under 4,000 people.
In July, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chair of Tata Group, threatened to close operations in Port Talbot down if the Government didn’t agree to provide £1.5 billion of subsidies in the next year to help it reduce carbon emissions.
Discussions between Tata Steel and the Westminster government also took place during the latter stages of Boris Johnson’s premiership, however Mr Johnson promised not to make any significant fiscal commitments before leaving office.
The UK government has provided more than £780m of support to the steel industry since 2013 to help with electricity costs since 2013.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We are working across the steel sector on achieving their sustainable and competitive long-term future.
“We recognise that businesses are feeling the impact of high global energy prices, particularly steel producers, which is why we announced the energy bill relief scheme to bring down costs.”
Speaking following Tata’s threat to close down it’s operations over the summer, Alasdair McDiarmid, operations director at the Community trade union, said: “Closures at Tata Steel would be a devastating blow costing thousands of jobs, destroying industrial supply chains, and threatening the future for steel communities across the country.
“Our ability to supply major infrastructure projects, manage our own defence capabilities and meet our climate targets would be damaged beyond repair.”
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