Welsh Labour delegation visits Newport microchip factory after UK Government demands sale
A delegation of Senedd Members and Members of Parliament from Welsh Labour have visited a Newport microchip factory after the UK Government demanded its sale over national security concerns.
Chinese-owned technology company Nexperia must sell at least 86% of Newport Wafer Fab, which is the UK’s biggest microchip factory, following a security assessment.
Last month Nexperia, the owners of Newport Wafer Fab, said they were “shocked” by the move.
Newport West MP Ruth Jones said that the decision had left hundreds of workers worrying in the run-up to Christmas.
This morning, she visited Newport Wafer Fab alongside a delegation of WelshLabour MPs & MSs and hear from the staff association.
“We heard how a wide variety of local people, and the community as a whole, depend on the growth and success of the site,” she said.
“Apprentices, graduates, staff on the factory floor and managers alike deserve job security and certainty.
“The UK Government’s handling of the Final Order decision has imperilled over 500 jobs. We’ll keep up the pressure in Parliament and do all we can to protect them.”
Responding to Ruth Jones’ criticism in the Commons last month, Business Secretary Grant Shapps acknowledged it was a “concerning time for 500 or so employees” at Newport Wafer Fab.
But he added: “She is not privy to the information that I have had to weigh up in order to come to this national security decision, which I have done with the utmost diligence and taken all of the factors into account.
“Nor can I am afraid accede to her request to publish that information.”
Mr Shapps had earlier told the Commons he was “unable to go into further detail about the national security assessments and implications which have formed this decision”.
But the Business Secretary did summarise a final order made to Nexperia, telling MPs: “What I can say is the final order requires Nexperia to follow a set process leading to divestment within a specified period.”
The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee had said last year that the sale of Wafer Fab to a “company with links to the Chinese Communist Party” had resulted in one of the UK’s “prized assets” going to a “strategic competitor” and could potentially compromise national security.
Following the move by the UK Government last week, a Welsh Government spokesperson said the decision has provided some welcome clarity.
“Our immediate priority now is to safeguard the future of the hundreds of highly skilled jobs in Newport,’ they added.
“We remain fully committed to ensuring the continued development of our compound semiconductor cluster in south east Wales and the role it plays on a wider UK scale.
“In light of the UK Government’s decision, UK Ministers now clearly view the compound semiconductor sector in Wales as a strategic national asset as well as being internationally recognised.
“We therefore call on the UK Government to invest in the sector to safeguard its future.”
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