This Tory Government and this Secretary of State has already thrown Welsh farmers under the bus with its trade deal with Australia and now they are preparing to do the same to Welsh steelworkers with their plan to scrap nine of the 19 safeguard tariffs on steel imports. Many people in Newport West will be wondering who is next on the Tory target list.
The UK Government must act now and legislate to protect the steel industry and the over 33,000 people directly employed in the industry across the UK and the 42,000 more jobs it provides in the supply chain. Failure to act will see cheap steel flood the UK market at exactly the time Tory Ministers should be focusing on ensuring more British steel is procured by British companies and more British Steel finds its way into the international market.
Let’s get this the right way round.
One way in which the Government could make British steel affordable to the international market is by investing in decarbonisation and encouraging steel producers to use more green and renewable sources of energy.
Long gone are the days where large manufacturers can shirk their responsibilities to the environment and the government can subsidise their vast energy usage but that does not mean the government cannot play a role in helping the sector invest in making their energy consumption more sustainable.
Mr Speaker, when Ministers failed to provide most of the steel industry with the emergency support available to other sectors during the Covid-19 crisis, and then decided the UK steel industry would receive no support in the last Budget; it is no surprise that Ministers plan to do away with the safeguards needs to protect our steel industry.
The Secretary of State is more interested in selling out Britain than selling our steel.