Government refuses to recall Parliament over Tata Steel crisis

Business minister Anna Soubry has asked for more time. Picture: Getty Images
Business minister Anna Soubry has asked for more time. Picture: Getty Images
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THE Government has refused demands to recall Parliament to discuss the steel crisis after Tata Steel announced plans to sell its UK assets.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to hold a special session despite the Easter recess following the shock move that threatens thousands of jobs.

The Welsh Assembly is being recalled next week to debate the future of the industry. Tata’s huge plant at Port Talbot employs 4,000 workers.

A spokesman for 10 Downing Street said: “We have no plans to recall Parliament. Our focus is on finding a long-term sustainable future for steel making at Port Talbot and across the UK.”

A petition backing a recall of Parliament has been signed by thousands of people. Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who has said he will cut short his trip to Australia, said the UK steel industry was “absolutely vital for the country”.

He said: “I’m deeply concerned about the situation. I think it’s absolutely clear that the UK steel industry is absolutely vital for the country and we will look at all viable options to keep steel making continuing in Port Talbot.

• READ MORE: Tata Steel to sell off UK assests

“We are also very much alive to the human cost and we want to make sure no worker is left behind so where workers are affected that we are doing everything we possibly can to help them and their families.”

But he said he did not think nationalisation was “the solution” to the crisis.

“At this stage, it’s important I think we talk to them properly and understand the exact situation and we look at all viable options”, he said. “I don’t think nationalisation is going to be the solution because I think everyone would want a long-term viable solution.”

The Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones wrote to presiding officer Dame Rosemary Butler formally requesting the Assembly reconvenes next week.

Tata’s decision came completely out of the blue to union officials, some of whom had travelled to Mumbai for the company’s meeting about its loss-making UK businesses. Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, said: “We travelled to Mumbai to secure a future for steel making in South Wales and we are disappointed that the future remains uncertain, not just for Welsh steelworkers but for thousands more [Tata]workers elsewhere in the UK.”

Dave Hulse, national officer of the GMB union, said: “This is absolutely devastating news for all our members, their families and the local communities. Tata has let the whole of the UK steel industry down.”

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