Labour MEPs have reiterated their call for the government to urgently step in and take action to save the steel sector, following the news that more than 850 jobs at Tata plants in Wales will be cut.
Theresa Griffin MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson for industry, said:
"Whether in Westminster or Brussels, the Tories talk, say they are 'deeply disappointed' with job losses here or plant closures there, but they don't actually do anything.
"Recently, Tory MEPs voted against a report that recommends a level playing field for the steel industry throughout Europe and proposes limiting the dumping of cheap Chinese steel - an issue David Cameron has failed to confront Xi Jinping on. It is Labour MEPs who been pressing the European Commission and ministers to act.
"And on Tuesday, MEPs voted on a Labour amendment calling on the Commission to review EU State Aid rules for the steel industry. If the rules are relaxed further, the government will be even more culpable if it fails to act."
Derek Vaughan MEP, Labour MEP for Wales, added:
"This is a disastrous blow to the Welsh steel industry. It will have a devastating impact on those people who have lost their jobs, the companies that supply Tata and local communities.
"So far the UK government has done nothing to help the steel industry in the UK. They have refused to apply for funding from the EU Globalisation Fund so that assistance can be provided to those who have lost their jobs. This is unacceptable.
"They should be providing emergency financial assistance, investment in research and development and training and environmental efficiency schemes in a similar manner to that which other European governments are already doing without contravening existing State Aid rules.
"It is not a case of the UK government being unable to intervene, they are simply unwilling to."
Labour MEPs have reiterated their call for the government to urgently step in and take action to save the steel sector, following the news that more than 850 jobs at...
Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, has called on the UK Government to take action to stabilise and safeguard the Welsh steel industry after Tata Steel confirmed that 750 jobs will be lost at its Port Talbot plant with another 100 going at its Trostre and Llanwern sites.
He has also urged the UK Government to apply to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, as a matter of urgency, so that assistance can be provided to support those workers who will be losing their livelihoods as a result of the announcement.
Mr Vaughan, a former Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Council, the area which plays host to the Port Talbot site said:
“This is a desperate blow to the Welsh steel industry which has been under pressure for some time and I have great sympathy for those families and local communities that will be affected by the news.”
Steel provides the backbone for our manufacturing industry here in Wales and the knock-on effects will be widespread. A combination of high energy costs, a weak pound and the failure to address the dumping of cheap Chinese steel onto the market has led to where we are today and the UK Government’s inaction and free market ideology has been a hugely contributing factor.
They now need to take strong, long-term actions to protect the Welsh steel industry, help increase its competitiveness and allow it to compete on a level playing field. Today is by no means the end of steelmaking in Wales but unless the Government takes a more proactive role then the problems will continue. They can provide emergency financial assistance, investment in research & development projects as well as training and environmental efficiency schemes in a similar manner to that which other European governments are already doing without going anywhere near contravening State Aid rules.
It is not a case of them being unable to intervene, it is a case of them being unwilling to intervene.
It is also important that everything is done to support those workers who have lost their jobs following today’s news. I have written to David Cameron asking that he ensures that an application is made immediately to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund so that workers can access help and assistance to get back on their feet.
Sadly, his government has failed to so when other steel plants in the UK have been under threat but it would be a dereliction of duty were he to maintain that stance when hundreds of working people will now face some very difficult times.”
Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, has called on the UK Government to take action to stabilise and safeguard the Welsh steel industry after Tata Steel confirmed that 750 jobs will...
Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, is urging the UK Government to take full advantage of vital funding that can be used to help communities across Wales deal with the havoc wreaked by recent devastating floods.
Upwards of £125m worth of support is available from the EU Solidarity Fund, for the UK as a whole, as people and businesses continue to count the cost of the adverse weather conditions in December last year.
The Fund was set up to respond to major natural disasters and as a member of the EU, the UK is entitled to apply for cash that can be used to pay for repairs to gas, water, electricity and telephone services, other vital infrastructure including roads and railway lines as well as general cleaning up and temporary accommodation. Since its creation in 2002, it has been used for 70 disasters across the EU covering a range of different events including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought. The UK has benefitted from the Fund in the past; in 2007 it received £120m from the Fund when 48,000 homes and 7,000 businesses were flooded in the south west of England, the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside. At the time it was one of the largest ever payments made.
DEREK VAUGHAN MEP said:
“The recent flooding has been hugely damaging in a number of areas, particularly in North Wales and West Wales where communities have had horrible experiences in dealing with the problems that such events bring with them.
We have all seen the devastation and it is a complete nonsense that the UK Government is failing to take advantage of support that has been specifically set aside to help areas get back on their feet in situations like this.
Applications need to be made to the fund within 12 weeks of the storms occurring and it is now a race against time for David Cameron to get his act together so that the additional funding can be accessed.
I have already raised the matter directly with the European Commission who confirm that the UK will qualify for a substantial grant. It would be a crying shame if the victims of the terrible flooding were to lose out because of the inaction and prevarication of the UK Government.”
Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, is urging the UK Government to take full advantage of vital funding that can be used to help communities across Wales deal with the havoc...