Prime Minister ‘looking into’ steelworks sale

David Cameron
David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron says he will look into the potential sale of Tata Steel’s Long Products European division, including the Dalzell works in Motherwell, but stopped short of saying he would take action.

During Prime Ministers Questions yesterday Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy called on the Government and the Prime Minster to intervene.

He said: “The Prime Minister will be aware that Tata Steel intends to sell its long products division to the Klesch group, which could have an effect on 15,000 jobs.

“Given the significance of the British steel industry to the UK economy and in view of Klesch’s history of asset stripping and dumping companies across Europe, does the Prime Minister agree with me that Klesch is not a fit and proper company to own such an important part of our economy and that the prospect of such a sale merits a direct intervention by this Government in the interests of those steelworkers and the British public?”

Mr Cameron responded: “I want to see a successful British steel industry as much as the hon Gentleman does.

“We have seen some good steps in recent years, with what has happened at Port Talbot and, indeed, at Redcar.

“I think we should talk to Klesch, judge it by what it says and what it does and give every assistance we can to try to maintain these important businesses and jobs.

“That is exactly what we are doing. We are looking at all the flexibilities under things such as the emissions directives to see what more we can do.

“I am sure that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and I will be looking into this personally, and will do everything we can to support this important industry.”

Frank gave a tentative welcome to what the Prime Minster had to say, but wants more than words.

He said: “While I am pleased the Prime Minister is taking an interest, I would urge him to follow up his words with action and intervene on this sale in the interests of the steelworkers and their local communities”

Following this exchange in the House of Commons the general secretary of Community, Roy Rickhuss, released a video in which he reaffirms that the union remains unconvinced of the need to sell off Tata Steel’s Long Products division.

He said: “The Prime Minister’s comments will give no definitive reassurance to the thousands of our members whose futures are under threat.

“Community remains unconvinced of the need to sell off the Long Products business and we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure our members are protected.

“We’re pleased to say Cyrus Mistry, the Chairman of Tata Steel, has now agreed to meet us and we look forward to having that discussion with him.”

Arrangements are being put in place for the meeting with Mr Mistry to take place in next month.

Meanwhile, Community continues to engage with members and consult with the company, with around 100 union reps from steel works across the UK meeting at the TUC in London today to discuss the announcement.

The video can be viewed on Community’s website