Last week the UK government made a screeching, last-minute U-turn on proposals to remove vital safeguards on steel imports.

I had raised this issue on a number of occasions in Parliament, highlighting that the removal of these key measures would leave our markets unprotected and undermine our whole industry.

It vital that this U-turn is now backed up with far-reaching action to support our industry.

For example, we need to see action on procurement. Every 1,000 tonnes of UK produced steel used in a public project delivers 4.5 jobs in the steel industry, and 10 jobs when the supply chain is included.

The Prime Minister has previously spoken about British steelmakers being at the 'front of the queue' for UK government contracts, but this just hasn't materialised to date. The most recent government’s data on how much steel its sourced from the UK only includes 160,000 tones – somewhat lower than the estimated 800,000 to 900,000 tonnes of steel used by the government each year.

Then there's the issue of electricity prices. It simply can't be right that UK steel producers pay 86 per cent more for electricity than their competitors in Germany and 62 per cent more than in France. This results in an annual £54 million cost burden on the UK steel sector - and a huge competitive disadvantage. Again, we need to see government action to address this elephant in the room.

As I've said repeatedly, steel should be the cornerstone of a forward-looking industrial strategy.

Llanwern and Liberty steel plants in Newport East are at the cutting-edge of steel technology, and our steel workforce is highly-skilled and passionate about an industry which has been at the heart of communities like ours for over a century. Why should we be a nation of importers rather than exporters when we have a wealth of expertise, experience and quality on our shores? It's high time that the government gave our steel industry the vote of confidence it deserves. To echo Community Union's campaign call: we need our steel.

* It was an honour to be present to see Newport East constituent Renate Collins receiving a British Empire Medal in a ceremony at Caldicot Castle last month. The Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and chairman of Monmouthshire County Council were also in attendance to see Renate awarded the medal in recognition of her services to Holocaust education.

Renate, whose family were murdered by the Nazis, was one of the last children to be brought to Britain through the Kindertransport scheme during the Second World War. She has dedicated much of her life to educating and informing people about what she and millions of others went through, and the dangers and devastating consequences of intolerance and hatred. Renate's story will continue to inspire others.

* The easing of lockdown restrictions in Wales has allowed choirs to practice again in person after a long hiatus. It's been an absolute pleasure to drop in and listen to the City of Newport Choir and Caldicot Male Voice Choir during some of their recent 'comeback' rehearsal sessions.

As expected, both choirs were in fine voice, and the sense of friendship, camaraderie and fun which has always been such a key part of the Welsh choral tradition were there in abundance - even with social distancing in place. I look forward to seeing both choirs plus the Serenata Ladies Choir and other local groups live in concert again in the near future - they have been much missed.

As always if you are a constituent and would like to speak to me or receive a monthly report email or ring 01633 841725.