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Tata Steelworks: Newport

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:15 pm on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office 4:15 pm, 8th October 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hanson. I congratulate Jessica Morden on securing this debate, which has given us the opportunity to come together to discuss a topic that is important not just for Newport but for the whole of Wales. She has always been, and was today, an energetic and passionate advocate for her constituents and those affected by the potential closure of Tata’s Cogent Orb plant.

It is clear that there is a shared understanding of the important role the steel sector plays in communities and its critical place as a foundation industry in the national economy, especially in Wales. That is evidenced by the number of Members attending this debate. I have heard their comments and the request to meet the unions. I understand that the Secretary of State for Wales has already been in contact with them, and I am more than happy to facilitate meetings. I will pass on the request for a meeting of the steel council. That is something we are always happy to do, and certainly if hon. Members request it. Those who have dealt with me previously know that I am only too happy to meet Members, particularly if it relates to matters in their constituencies that are this important. I would be happy to facilitate that.