PO­LIT­I­CAL ROW OVER STEEL PLANT

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Robert Lloyd @rl­loy­dpr [email protected]­line.co.uk 07765 287910

THE Welsh Govern­ment has been ac­cused of be­ing “asleep at the wheel” over the po­ten­tial sale of the Trostre steel pack­ag­ing plant in Llanelli.

The ac­cu­sa­tion is lev­elled at the Labour Welsh Govern­ment by Plaid Cymru.

Tata Steel could have to sell its Trostre plant if it merges with Ger­man steel gi­ant ThyssenKru­pp.

The sale could be forced by Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion rules – a po­ten­tial prob­lem high­lighted in Fe­bru­ary.

Plaid Cymru waded into the row after Llanelli AM Lee Wa­ters made press state­ments say­ing that he – and Labour col­league and Llanelli MP Nia Grif­fith – would be work­ing to se­cure the fu­ture of the plant.

The Plaid Assem­bly Mem­ber for Mid and West Wales, He­len Mary Jones, said: “I am deeply con­cerned at re­ports that Tata could sell its Trostre site in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate a merger with Thyssen-Krupp. Once again, work­ers in Wales are fac­ing inse­cu­rity, and the Welsh Govern­ment seems to be sit­ting on its hands.

“We have raised con­cerns about this with the Welsh Govern­ment in the past pre­cisely be­cause this merger could lead to down­grad­ing in Wales.

“I have tabled an emer­gency ques­tion to the Econ­omy Min­is­ter (Ken Skates) on this and I ex­pect him to take swift ac­tion.”

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Min­is­ter for Econ­omy and Finance, Rhun ap Ior­w­erth AM, added: “The Welsh Govern­ment’s in­ac­tion is putting the liveli­hoods of thou­sands of work­ers at Trostre at risk.

“Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price asked the then-First Min­is­ter [Car­wyn Jones] in Novem­ber 2018 if the Welsh Govern­ment in­tended ‘to re­spond to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in­quiry into the merger of ThyssenKru­pp and Tata, which could mean the sale of the site’.

“Car­wyn Jones failed to re­spond to the ques­tion.

“In fact, in Fe­bru­ary 2017, when the now-deputy min­is­ter for the Econ­omy and Trans­port, Lee Wa­ters, ex­pressed his own con­cerns about the fu­ture sus­tain­abil­ity of the Trostre site, the Econ­omy Min­is­ter Ken Skates said, ‘What is es­sen­tial is that we give the steel sec­tor across Wales the best pos­si­ble chance of be­ing as com­pet­i­tive as pos­si­ble.’

“It is time now for the Welsh Govern­ment to wake up and in­ter­vene.”

Pic­ture: Rob Browne

Tata steel­works in Llanelli.

Pic­ture: Rowan Grif­fiths

Plaid AM for Mid and West Wales, He­len Mary Jones, and Shadow Min­is­ter for Econ­omy and Finance, Rhun ap Ior­w­erth AM.

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