THE closure of Orb Electrical Steels in Newport would be "short-sighted" and "a tragic example of huge potential being squandered", say Gwent MPs who are working with colleagues from other steelmaking constituencies to urge the Government to help save the plant.

The MPs met representatives of the Community union - which represents around 90 per cent of workers at Orb - to show their support for the plant, where 380 jobs are at risk.

Tata announced on September 2 that it plans to close the site, on the east bank of the river Usk, by the end of the year.

South Wales Argus:

The Orb works in Newport, which is set to close with the loss of 380 jobs

Newport East MP Jess Morden, who has raised the issue with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns in the House of Commons, said the Government needs to adopt a long term vision for the steel industry which recognises its potential and the challenges it faces.

"Orb closing would represent a tragic example of huge potential being squandered," she said.

"This is the only plant in the UK that produces the high-quality electrical steels that can form part of the supply chain for electric vehicles.

"With investment and support, Orb could be powering the huge growth in electric vehicles we expect to see over the next decade.

"We simply can’t afford to lose these opportunities, nor the skill-sets of the dedicated workforce at Orb.”

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds urged the Government and Tata Steel to "get around the table and do all that can be done to save this national asset".

"Steel is a foundation industry and must be at the forefront of the industrial policy of any Government,” he said.

Newport West MP Ruth Jones called the Orb closure plan "short-sighted" given that it produces specialist steel necessary for the manufacture of electric cars.

"This is the future of our manufacturing industry and we must do all we can to ensure British car companies continue to produce cars and components in the future," she said.

"We will continue to explore ways in which we can protect Welsh steel and local industries that are vital for good, local jobs.”

Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith said: “We support the union and workers in their efforts to defend their jobs and this vital business.”

And Islwyn MP Chris Evans added: "I was extremely concerned by the recent news of job losses in Newport and was pleased to join colleagues across to Gwent to support steel workers."


Community's general secretary Roy Rickhuss called the Orb works "a strategically important site which with a little investment would be able to produce the steel used in electric vehicles".

"If this government really wants to tackle climate change, they need to put their money where their mouth is and support this works to ensure we have a supply chain in the UK that can produce electric vehicles for the future,” he added.

“The Government must now come together with the company and work to ensure that we do not lose the huge potential that this site offers our country, or the countless highly skilled jobs the site could provide for generations.”

“Having the support of MPs will be vital in securing the support of government to keep the site open, and to encourage both the government and the company to give the site the investment it needs to have a long-term profitable future.”

He thanked, on behalf of Community members, MPs who are backing the Save Our Steel campaign, and called Ms Morden's lobbying of the Government about the Orb works "invaluable”.