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UK Ministers have saved 5,000 jobs in Port Talbot steel industry, Sunak claims

24 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Rishi Sunak Photo Dominic Lipinski PA Images. Right, Blast Furnace located at the Port Talbot steelworks.

The UK Government’s £500 million rescue package for Tata Steel has saved 5,000 jobs and prevented the closure of its Port Talbot plant, Rishi Sunak has said.

The Prime Minister insisted his government’s intervention would also protect further workers in the South Wales’ steelworks supply chain, and claimed criticisms of the support package were “churlish”.

Last week, Indian conglomerate Tata Steel confirmed plans to close the blast furnaces in Port Talbot – its biggest UK plant – with the loss of up to 2,800 jobs in South Wales.

Ministers offered to provide £500 million to Tata, which continue steelmaking in the town through a greener method using scrap metal.

But critics have claimed the end of primary steel production will be devastating for South Wales and will jeopardise a nationally important industry, and have called for a more gradual transition.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour MP Sarah Champion said: “I represent a proud steel community in Rotherham who stand with the steelworkers in Port Talbot at this very worrying time.

“My constituents don’t want to see their taxpayers’ money used to make British workers redundant, our primary steel making capacity decimated and our national security compromised.

“So will the Prime Minister change his destructive course? Starting by looking at the credible multi-union plan to safeguard our steel industry’s long-term future?”

Committed

Mr Sunak responded: “I know this is an anxious time for steelworkers in South Wales, but we are committed to working with the steel sector to secure a positive and sustainable future.”

He added: “What was proposed to happen in South Wales was the loss of 8,000 direct jobs, thousands more across the supply chain, and the complete closure of the plant.

“Because of the Government’s investment and support and partnership we have safeguarded 5,000 direct jobs, thousands more in the supply chain and ensured the long-term sustainability of that steel plant so it has a brighter future.

“Obviously this is difficult, but it is entirely churlish of her not to recognise the largest support package, it is one of the largest support packages that any Government has provided any company and in the process safeguarded thousands of jobs.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had earlier drawn attention to the situation facing Port Talbot’s steelworkers, claiming that the Britain would become “the only major economy that no longer makes its own steel” as “the Government is handing out £500 million to make 3,000 steelworkers redundant”.

Pointing to overnight calls for Rishi Sunak to be replaced as Tory leader, Sir Keir asked: “Isn’t he embarrassed that the Tory party is yet again entirely focused on itself?”

The Prime Minister replied that the Labour leader was engaging in “yet more sniping from the side lines”.

Tata has said continued blast furnace production in Port Talbot was “not feasible or affordable” and the deal with the UK Government would help transition to a more sustainable, greener steel production using electric arc furnaces.

The UK Government has committed to invest up to £500 million while Tata will spend £750 million.

Tata said more than £130 million will be spent on measures including redundancy terms, skills retraining and help with job seeking.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

2,800 jobs lost is 5,000 jobs saved. Only in the murky Tory world of alternative truth.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Tata now have a free piggy bank. called the Tory party.

Oh dear, the rolling mill is in need of update, we might have to pull the plug. Kerching, Tory party lobs in loot.

Re nationalise it.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

I dare Sunak to face one of the thousands made redundant and say to him or her – not to worry, we saved thousands of other jobs by giving Tata 500 million quid! Is that going to put food on the plate? Is that going to stop the decimation of industry in Wales? No! This sort of crap has been going on since the 80s and we’ve suffered enough by it.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Mr Tetchy calling us churlish…

We must not be discourteous to the little Emperor…

Time you packed your bags Rishi Ji and fly away…

East or West the furthest is best…

Claudia Barron
Claudia Barron
1 month ago

So Richie Sunak has given the Indian owned Tata steel £500,000 of British tax payers money to convert to a furnace that uses scrap metal and kept the mills going to produce steel from product imported from India. Tata must be delighted, as no doubt must be Modi… is he an acquaintance of his father in law

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Claudia Barron

You bet !

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
1 month ago

Four thousand people work there 2800are going to lose their jobs and they have saved 5000 jobs he is a complete bloody idiot who cannot count or a liar or he is clueless or a combination of all

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

One just wonders if £500.000 might have funded a Hydrogen based plant alongside the proposed electric arc plant. It would be good to see the numbers in detail but that will never happen. They might perhaps have been recast to be best for Cymru rather than best for India.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

What a load of Tory bull! Nearly 3000 jobs to go in Port Talbot steelworks , plus thousands more in the surrounding area with suppliers & shops also affected, and Sunak claims this as a success? Remember, this is a man who borrowed a car for a photo op once and didn’t know how to pay for his petrol using a credit card. 🙄

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