The government has failed to hold Tata to account over Port Talbot. Are you surprised?

[Image: Getty.]

[Image: Getty.]

Anybody wondering why Tata is not being held to all of its obligations, having decided to pull out of the UK, should remember that the Conservative Government is a corporate poodle.

Did you know that the Serious Fraud Office is investigating a subsidiary of Tata Steel? Perhaps the company is hoping the inquiry will go away amidst the threat of job losses and the demise of the UK steel industry.

The extent of the Tories’ misreading of the situation is evident from the fact that they only recently began working to save UK steel production, having had it pointed out to them (one presumes) that without the ability to fabricate the metal ourselves, we would be at the mercy of those who retained it.

A plan already exists to bring the industry back into profitability – possibly as soon as later this year – although this has been hidden because the spectre of £1 million-a-day losses is so much more emotive.

These are all matters that the Conservatives, and in particular business minister Sajid Javid, have fumbled.

This Writer is hoping the management buy-out comes to fruition. It would keep steel in the UK and put it in the hands of people who understand it.

I would have preferred a workers’ co-operative… but perhaps that will be the next chapter in this extraordinary story.

From the moment that Tata announced its decision to divest from the UK, the UK Government should have insisted that Tata Group met the entirety of its liabilities, providing, if necessary, an ‘exit dowry’.

The British Government has singularly failed so far to hold Tata to account.  Indeed there has been almost an air of gratitude for the company’s decision to delay committing, as it originally intended, the act of industrial vandalism that switching off the blast furnaces would have constituted.

Instead the British Government has signalled its willingness to subsume some or all of these debts in order to sweeten the pill for any prospective buyer.

Yet the wider Tata Group has unlimited liability for the pension deficit as the Pension Regulator has the power to seize assets, even overseas if necessary.

While the environmental liability, maybe worth as much as £750 million at Port Talbot alone, does lie with Tata Steel UK Ltd, Tata Group owns 30% of the company and the reputational damage of using bankruptcy to walk away from its responsibilities on such a scale would be unprecedented.

Source: The government has failed to hold Tata to account over Port Talbot

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8 thoughts on “The government has failed to hold Tata to account over Port Talbot. Are you surprised?

  1. Stephen Mellor

    “Hold Tata to account”? Whatever for?

    They’re a private business. They’re losing money at Port Talbot. They closed it.

    None of your business.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No business is private. It brings money into the economy. Its closure deprives the economy of money, and therefore causes problems for everybody.
      The magnitude of that effect is determined by the size of the company, meaning a firm like Tata Steel in Port Talbot will have a significant effect.
      In those circumstances, it is certainly justifiable to want to know about the business decisions that led to this point and hold the firm’s bosses to account for the decisions they have made that are harming the economy.
      But then, you know all this and were merely trolling.

      1. Stephen Mellor

        Every business is private, excepting state-owned enterprises.

        Of course, we could go with this: “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” Karl Marx

        Or perhaps this: “Ultimately property rights and personal rights are the same thing.” Calvin Coolidge

        Coolidge is right, of course. Every encroachment on private property is an infringement of liberty.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No – every business is public. They employ members of the public, and they have an effect on the society in which they are based.
        Therefore every business executive has a responsibility – to those members of the public they employ, and to the wider society that benefits from the cash the business generates, which is distributed via workers’ pay.
        Here’s your proof: The loss of the Tata steelworks would have a devastating effect on the economy of Port Talbot, would it not?
        Yes it would. We have seen the story played out in full elsewhere.

      3. Stephen Mellor

        I see.

        So the options are (a) lose £1M/day, or (b) go and therefore we “get screwed too.”

        So, regarding (a) by what right do you presume to take £1M/day from a private entity?

        And (b) if having a job is “exploitation” and not having one is “getting screwed too”, how exactly do you intend to support yourself?

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        There is (or was) a perfectly actionable plan to end the losses and bring the plant back into profit, but those in control seemed unwilling to put it into effect.
        So your list of options is lacking, in that it doesn’t include the one that returns the plant to operation as a viable concern.

  2. David

    A corporate poodle just about sums this shower up. Have you heard about that Philip Green gadge recently? Whoops, one of Tony Bliar’s mates. Have to call him “Sir” Philip to be really polite.

  3. mrmarcpc

    The tories have always been whores to big business and will spread their legs or bend over and let them do whatever the hell they like which in turn we would then get screwed too!

Comments are closed.