Tories are all talk when it comes to steel

20 January 2016

Labour MEPs have reiterated their call for the Government to urgently step in and take action to save the steel sector, following the news that 1,050 jobs at Tata plants in the UK, including Hartlepool will be cut.

Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East, said:

"Whether in Westminster or Brussels, the Tories talk, say they are 'deeply disappointed' with job losses here or plant closures there, but they don't actually do anything.

"Recently, Tory MEPs voted against a report that recommends a level playing field for the steel industry throughout Europe and proposes limiting the dumping of cheap Chinese steel - an issue David Cameron has failed to confront the President of China on. It is Labour MEPs who been pressing the European Commission and ministers to act."

Today, Labour MEPs gained support for their amendment calling on the Commission to review EU State Aid rules for the steel industry. If the rules are relaxed further, the UK Government will be even more culpable if it fails to act.

Paul Brannen MEP, Labour MEP for the North East, added:

"This week has seen another disastrous blow to the UK steel industry. It will have a devastating impact on those people who have lost their jobs, the companies that supply Tata and local communities.

"In the North East we unfortunately know this situation all too well and I was saddened to learn that there will be more job losses in Hartlepool.

"So far the UK government has done nothing to help the steel industry in the UK. They have refused to apply for funding from the EU Globalisation Fund so that assistance can be provided to those who have lost their jobs. This is unacceptable.

"They should be providing emergency financial assistance, investment in research and development, and training and environmental efficiency schemes in a similar manner to that which other European governments are already doing without contravening existing State Aid rules.

"It is not a case of the UK government being unable to intervene, they are simply unwilling to."

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