"MORE and faster action" is needed on issues facing the steel industry, a Newport MP has said.

Newport East's Jessica Morden has frequently spoken out in support of the industry, which has suffered in recent years under increasing energy prices and competition from abroad.

Tata Steel's plant in Llanwern in the Cogent Orb works in Newport both fall in Ms Morden's constituency, and support the larger plant in Port Talbot.

Speaking during a debate on the industry in Parliament last week, Ms Morden said workers had "made such sacrifices" to keep the sector afloat.


"The communities of east Newport and over to Caldicot have been built on that pride," she said. "Most people have family or friends who have worked in the industry, but the current generation of steel workers live with the constant threat that their jobs are uncertain.

"They look towards Bridgend and what happened to Ford workers - they are understandably concerned and worried about problems in the automotive sector.

"That is not just because of the bonds of working in that industry, although that bond is real.

"Tata Steel’s Zodiac plant at Llanwern and the auto-finishing line depends on securing work from the automotive sector. We need the government to urgently do all they can to ensure that our steel and automotive industries are open for business."

Ms Morden added the kind of steel produced at the Orb works was suitable for use in electric vehicle motors, and said this provides "a fantastic opportunity" to get involved with a growing industry.

"But these are smaller companies and will need the government to help to bring the supply chain together," she said. "The Orb works is the only plant in the UK capable of making the steels and is therefore a strategically important business that can support the government’s industrial strategy in relation to electrification.

"We must take advantage of that new industry."

Calling for the government to take action, she said: "We have waited too long for a sector deal for steel.

"We need more and faster action on energy prices.

"We need more action on procurement.

"We also need more action on dumping and on what will happen with the trade defence instruments in Europe."

Responding to the debate, under-secretary for business, energy and industrial strategy Andrew Stephenson said the government had already advised departments to use British-made steel in public products.

"(Steel) is important for any modern economy and plays a key role in many critical UK supply chains, including construction, automotive, defence and power generation," he said. "I have spoken to business leaders right across the manufacturing sector, who value having this expertise and capability here in the UK, and who - like all of us - want to see an innovative and sustainable steel sector that is able to compete with the best in the world."

In March 2016 Tata announced it would sell off its entire UK operation, but this was later scrapped following a proposed merger with German corporation ThyssenKrupp - but this has itself been called into question following reports it could be blocked under competition regulation.