Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has accused the UK government of singularly failing to protect the Welsh steel industry from market volatility and called on the Government to implement measures such as an employer’s national insurance contribution break for West Wales and the Valleys to support against the impact of job losses.
Following an urgent statement in the House of Commons, Jonathan Edwards MP said,
“Today’s announcement is a devastating blow to the workers and communities of Port Talbot, Llanwern and Llanelli. The steel industry supports thousands of workers across the region, with Tata Steel contributing around £3.2 billion annually to the Welsh economy.”
“The UK Government has singularly failed to protect the steel industry from the volatility of the markets, despite repeated warnings. Artificially cheap steel is being dumped every week from countries such as Russia and China, drowning the UK market and undercutting Welsh-produced steel.”
“The dumping of Chinese steel is one of the biggest contributors to this crisis. But the UK Government has done little to help the flailing steel industry at home, choosing instead to promote China’s bid for market economy status which would further decimate our steel industry.”
“Ensuring market fairness for our steel industry should be a top priority for the UK Government. It should be pursued with the same drive as we saw when the banks were bailed out in 2008.”
"The UK Government should also be pressing to implement measures such as an employer’s national insurance contribution break for West Wales and the Valleys. This area is one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in Western Europe and contains the steel plants at Trostre and Port Talbot. Measures such as this would support against the impact of these job losses and provide a boost for the area."
“Plaid Cymru has put forward constructive proposals to save the steel industry in Wales and called on the Welsh Government to urgently consider all options, including taking a temporary stake in Tata Steel to protect workers and guard this key industry, a backbone of the Welsh economy, against these challenging economic conditions.”
“So far the Welsh First Minister has chosen to ignore these calls, including those made by his own party leader, choosing instead to treat Welsh steelworkers as pawns in a political blame game between the Welsh Government and Westminster.”
“Whilst the Tories and Labour refuse to step up to the plate, Plaid Cymru will press both the UK and Welsh Government to do all they can to protect the jobs of our steel workers.”