UPDATE 5.22pm:

NEWPORT MPs spoke in defence of the UK steel industry earlier in a three-hour Commons debate to examine the crisis.

The debate, led by Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock in Westminster Hall, comes after 1,050 jobs were lost at Tata steel plants earlier this week.

Newport West’s Labour MP Paul Flynn claimed the UK government’s “infatuation” with the Chinese has led to their industries prospering while “our industry crumbles”.

He said: “We have a policy of deindustrialisation, with our industry being colonised by the Chinese.”

Mr Kinnock replied, paying tribute to Mr Flynn’s “long and illustrious history in the steel industry”.

He said: “He was a steelworker himself, so he speaks with particular experience and expertise.

“I absolutely agree with his point about the nuclear industry.

“I would bring everybody’s attention to the outrage of EDF telling a well-known British steel producer that it was not allowed to tender to make turbines that it is absolutely qualified to provide, thus denying it the opportunity of a multimillion-pound contract.

“The idea that this country’s procurement policies are somehow changing is a myth, and that experience of EDF and that steel maker is a case in point.”

Newport East MP Jessica Morden said she welcomed the chance to talk about the impact of this week's job losses, primarily on Llanwern steelworks.

She said: "Steel is very much part of our heritage in Wales. Steelworkers, as we all know, take huge pride in the work that they do and what they produce.

"My honourable friends in the chamber know that all too well, not only because we represent steelworkers, but because many, like me, have family connections with the steel industry.

"The job losses at Port Talbot that were announced this week affect Llanwern, too. The overall figures for job losses at Llanwern were not announced by Tata in this week’s press release, but that forms part of Port Talbot strip products.

"Any solutions should recognise that the future of Llanwern is very much tied up with the future of Port Talbot. In addition to the 750 jobs that are being lost across the sites—the majority are in Port Talbot, but Llanwern is also affected—there are job losses to come in support services and management."

She added: "I wholeheartedly back the call for the Government to support anti-dumping action at an EU level. The UK should play a strong role in EU decisions over China and market economy status, and I fully support the comments that have been made so far on that.

"From talking to Llanwern steelworkers this week, it is clear that their overall impression is that the Government have acted far too slowly.

"They have played their part with the unions in weathering the storm during difficult times to help to increase productivity in the business.

"We are used to the Government parroting the line about a long-term economic plan, but we need to see action from the Government, not just words, and steel must be at the heart of that."


Thursday, January 21 6.43am: THE future of the steel industry will be debated by MPs in the House of Commons later today.

This week more than 1,000 job losses were announced by Tata Steel, the majority of which were 750 job losses at Port Talbot steelworks which includes the redundancies at the Llanwern site.

A task force met for the first time yesterday to discuss the future of the workers who will lose their jobs at the Tata steel works.

The meeting was chaired by Edwina Hart AM, the minister for economy, science and transport, and included representatives from Tata Steel, the trade unions, individuals to represent local authorities, the business sector, education, health, Careers Wales and other bodies that provide careers and job advice.

The aim of the task force was to agree on next steps to help those directly affected by the announcement as well as providing support to the wider economy and steel industry.

Mrs Hart said the Welsh Government is 'determined to do all that they can to support the employer, its workforce and those in the local supply chain.'

Unite, the union yesterday called on Welsh stakeholders to come together to form a 'Welsh consensus' to save the steel industry in Wales.

Andy Richards, Unite Wales secretary, said: “The past 24 hours have shown us that there is a clear Welsh consensus emerging about what actions need to be taken if we are to save the steel industry in Wales.

“Action to deal with Chinese steel dumping, energy costs and green levies need to be resolved with strong, swift action at Westminster.

“The UK Government needs to realise that Wales speaks as one on this.”

The debate in Westminster will take place from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm today.