SARAH CHAMPION MP'S STATEMENT ON TATA PLAN TO SELL UK STEEL PLANTS

"I am angry and frustrated by TATA's announcement that it plans to sell its UK plants and restructure its operations. It is another blow to one of our most important industries and to the workers and communities who rely on it. For me, the blame lays squarely at the feet of the Government. For two years, industry, MPs and the unions have been telling Ministers what must be done to secure the long term future of steel in the UK. I am furious that the Government has done nothing with this information.

Most recently, at the Steel Summit in October last year, Ministers met myself, local Labour MPs, industry experts, unions and workers in Rotherham. Those attending presented Ministers with a number of practical ideas to address the problems in the steel industry; from asking the Government to commit to procuring British steel for infrastructure projects like HS2, to tackling the high energy prices faced by the industry. Yet again, none were acted on.

In Rotherham, hundreds of steel workers were handed redundancy notices from TATA earlier this year. This announcement raises fears about more job losses. These skilled workers and the high specification steel they produce need a level playing field to succeed that this Government has so far been unable to deliver on.

We need a clear and detailed statement from TATA on its plans for operations across the UK, so that all involved can begin to plan effectively for the future of the steel industry. We then need the Government to stop shirking from its responsibility and act before it's too late.

Being dependant on other countries for our steel would make us vulnerable as a nation. I simply can't understand why the Government thinks this is a realistic option."

NewsVanessa Johns