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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

I will certainly convey the hon. Lady’s message to the steel Minister. I have to say, looking at the many Opposition Members here and given my knowledge of their determination to stand up for the communities they represent, that I have a feeling that the steel Minister will get a number of opportunities in the very near future to discuss steel on the Floor of the House, if not in a debate in this Chamber. Certainly as a Minister, I would be badly mistaken to think I can ignore some of the people on the Opposition Benches.

However, it is worth reflecting on the fact that there are currently 46 trade defence measures in place to protect UK steel products from unfair steel dumping. As we operate an independent trade policy, the UK will continue to champion free trade and take a proportionate approach to trade remedies, with a view to continuing the defence of our industry where necessary. The steel industry is an important industry in Wales, as reflected by today’s turnout among Members representing Welsh constituencies. The UK Government are committed to supporting companies, such as Tata, that have contributed to the local economy in Wales for decades, and we will continue to work with the sector, the unions and the devolved Administration to support the UK’s steel sector in developing a long-term, viable solution for that industry.

In closing, I thank all hon. Members who have contributed to today’s debate, and the hon. Member for Newport East for having secured it. I know that she will continue to be a strong advocate for those she represents and will ensure that the Government hear loud and clear their views and what she believes the options to be. I would certainly be more than happy to have a longer discussion with her about some of the proposals that are being put forward; I look forward to the opportunity to do so. However, as I say, those proposals must be based on providing a long-term, sustainable future for the plant, not just subsidy with a hope of something coming along.

Question put and agreed to.