Cameron to hold talks on Tata Steel

Modi and Cameron at Chequers during his fecent visit to the UK

Prime Minister David Cameron will host crisis talks on the UK steel industry amid mounting pressure on ministers to guarantee the future of the Port Talbot steelworks owned by India-based Tata Steel and its 5,500 staff

Modi and Cameron  at Chequers during his fecent visit to the UK
Modi and Cameron at Chequers during his fecent visit to the UK

The prime minister will meet ministers in Downing Street to co-ordinate their response to Tata Steel’s plan to sell the plant. Ministers have downplayed talk of nationalising the works but said state help could be used to engineer a sale. Business Secretary Sajid Javid has arrived in London after cut short his Australian trip.

Labour has urged ministers to “get their act” together and step in now. While stopping short of calling for Tata Steel’s UK business – which directly employs 15,000 workers and supports thousands of others – to be taken into permanent public ownership, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the government must intervene to safeguard its future. The Labour leader also seeking the recall of Parliament to debate the issue.

“Labour believes that as a country, we must do whatever it takes to save this strategically vital industry which lies at the heart of British manufacturing,” said Corbyn. “If David Cameron won’t stand up for British industry and the workers who rely on it for their livelihoods – Labour will.

“Once again David Cameron’s Tory Party is standing by whilst potentially thousands of people could lose their jobs. It’s broken promise after broken promise, failure after failure and let down after let down. The Tories are on their own side. We are on the side of the British people.

Commenting on the reported decision by Tata Steel to seek to sell its British steel production business, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is yet more deeply troubling news for British steelworkers. While plant closures have been averted, the proposed sale of Tata Steel spells uncertainty for entire communities.

“We need action to secure a future for British steel. The government should directly intervene to save the UK steel industry, and Parliament should be recalled in order to debate how best to secure the future of this vital industry.

“Now, more than ever, the government needs to engage and listen to the steel unions.

“Other EU countries have shown that governments can act to support the steel industry, but this requires real political will.

“British steelworkers are world class. It’s time for the government to stand up for them.”