Steel industry must not die while UK government remains ‘Tata-tonic’

The Port Talbot steelworks [Image: Getty].

The Port Talbot steelworks [Image: Getty].

Love him or hate him, Carwyn Jones was right to say the UK government has been slow to respond to the Tata steel crisis. Tata-tonic would be a better word.

It is heartening that the Welsh Assembly has £60 million available to help smooth a new owner’s transition into the Port Talbot works, and other Tata sites.

But isn’t it a shame that the only prospective buyers, so far, are from India and Germany? What does that tell us about British industry?

It tells This Writer that, after nearly 40 years of neoliberal vampirism, the UK’s industrial base is dying.

And the Tories like it that way.

They’ve sold national assets like rail, water, electricity, gas and nuclear power to foreign nationalised industries – so obviously it’s okay for other national governments to run our utilities.

And they famously sold the Royal Mail to hedge funds.

They said it was in the name of the free market, but from where This Writer is sitting, very little about the market seems free. The current situation with steel is about Chinese protectionism.

But still the Tories are chattering about their silly little ideology.

While they couldn’t care less about British steel, they have failed to understand that the rest of the world couldn’t care less about them.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has said the British steel industry cannot be allowed to die, as assembly members reconvene to discuss the Tata crisis.

Assembly election campaigning has been suspended for the crisis recall after Tata Steel UK went up for sale.

About 6,000 Welsh jobs are under threat, including more than 4,000 in Port Talbot.

The assembly meeting comes after tycoon Sanjeev Gupta was linked to a potential purchase of the plant.

Opening the assembly session on Monday, Mr Jones said: “I have one simple message for the people of Wales and the UK government – these plants cannot close.”

The first minister said it emerged at the weekend that it was not the European Union holding the UK back, “but the other way around”.

Mr Jones said he would support UK government ownership if necessary while a buyer was being found.

AMs banged their desks in support when he ended his statement by saying he wanted the assembly to tell steelworkers: “We stand beside you, shoulder to shoulder.”

Source: Tata Steel: Industry cannot be allowed to die, Jones says – BBC News

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6 thoughts on “Steel industry must not die while UK government remains ‘Tata-tonic’

  1. Terry Davies

    why dont the UK negotiate a knockdown price with Tata snd then own it after buying it with tax payers money ????

  2. Mr.Angry

    The Tories are an absolute disgrace, words fail me, they take lengthy holiday’s then jump back in on an increased salary to show they are concerned about the loss of thousands of jobs in the steel industry.

    An absolute publicity stunt to gain political favor as they appear to be concerned about job losses.

    They don’t give two hoots to manual,workers survival as they are not bankers or loan companies or sharks who so much resemble their ilk

    One less thing to sell off before the public wake up and boot them out never to return hopefully.

  3. philipburdekin

    This government don’t give a flying feck about any industry, for years they have tried to kill off any industry that’s left and the THIER friends and maybe them too Akers millions while the workers end up in poverty, I think we all know the ending.

  4. Joan Edington

    Do the Welsh Assembly have the rights to buy the Port Talbot plant themselves or find a buyer? I don’t mean as a nationalised industry since I doubt they have sufficient funds or permission. I was thinking about what happened in Scotland. When a buyer was found, the government bought the plants from Tata and sold them on immediately to the new buyer. The cost was transient and it allowed the sale to go through a lot quicker than all the legal paperwork of a normal private sale (I don’t know all the ins and outs). It also gets the employees back to work quicker. I just don’t know what powers The Welsh Assembly has for something like this.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I can’t say what the Assembly will be able to do, I’m afraid.
      It’s clear from what was said yesterday that funding is available to help any buyer through the acquisition process; beyond that, I don’t have the information.
      I’d like to imagine the Assembly has the same powers as Scotland in this regard, but we’ll have to find out.

Comments are closed.