Economy Minster Ken Skates takes over Chair of Tata Steel Task Force
Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates will Chair his first meeting of the Tata Steel Task Force today.
The Taskforce was established earlier this year by Mr Skates’ predecessor, the then- Economy Minister Edwina Hart, to support those affected by the proposed sale of Tata sites across Wales.
It includes representative from trade unions, local authorities, the business sector, education, health, Careers Wales and other bodies that provide careers and job advice, and is meeting for the sixth time today.
Speaking ahead of the meeting in Cardiff Bay, Ken Skates said:
“This is still a crucial and very tense time for the Welsh steel industry and since my appointment I have visited most of the steel plants in Wales. Last week I spent time visiting sites at Shotton, Llaneli, Newport and Port Talbot.
“This will be the first meeting of the Task Force since the vote to leave the EU. Since the vote we have been shouting loudly to the world that Wales is open for business and there is no doubt our steel industry is a crucial part of that business.
“The decisions that Tata are currently considering are of a commercial nature and very much for them to make, but I am committed to doing everything Welsh Government can to influence their decision making and secure the very best future for our steel industry and our workers.
“As a Government, we are -committed to doing all we can to secure the long-term sustainable future of steel making in Wales as well as the future of the steel plants, and we will continue to put every possible resource into achieving this aim, including working closely and constructively with UK Government.
“One of the things the industry is consistently calling for is a level playing field to compete with its international counterparts and that means fairer energy prices. This is something for the UK Government and we would again appeal to them to take urgent action to mitigate the effects of high energy prices and on energy intensive industries Our steel industry in Wales desperately needs this support and the confidence it will bring.”
Call for clarity
The steelworkers’ union Community has once again called on Tata Steel to clarify its intentions are for its UK plants
“They need to be clearer this is where we are, this is what needs to happen and this is what the government needs to do,” a Community spokesperson told City A.M. website.
Since Tata paused the sale of its UK assets earlier in the month following the announcement they are to open talks with German rival Thyssenkrupp about possible joint venture, very little has emerged from the Mumbai based parent company about what the future holds for its UK workforce.
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