Home » Election 2024 latest: Keir Starmer heading to Scotland, as Robert Jenrick says Tories failed to deliver

Election 2024 latest: Keir Starmer heading to Scotland, as Robert Jenrick says Tories failed to deliver

Election 2024 latest: Keir Starmer heading to Scotland, as Robert Jenrick says Tories failed to deliver

Analysis

Timing is tight on Port Talbot plantpublished at 11:20

Huw Thomas
Business correspondent, BBC Wales

While Jonathan Reynolds said
this morning that there was “a better deal available” for workers in
Port Talbot, the new business secretary knows that Tata Steel is determined to
press ahead with its restructuring plans.

The company wants to shut the
second of its Port Talbot blast furnaces in September, before making 2,800
workers redundant across the UK.

Labour had asked for no
“irreversible” decisions to be taken by the company ahead of the
general election, but talks between the unions and Tata Steel are almost
complete.

The glimmer of hope for those who
want to mitigate the impact of Tata’s plans is the idea of future investment,
where the Labour government may help fund the building of new infrastructure
such as a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant or a plate mill to help construct
floating wind turbines.

Labour had discussed supporting
future investment in Port Talbot during the election campaign, and Tata Steel
bosses had been open to the idea.

This won’t save jobs in the
short term, and even Tata Steel’s existing commitment to build an electric arc
furnace next year – with £500m of government cash – will require far fewer
workers than are currently employed in the heavy end of blast furnace
production.

Timing is incredibly
tight.

Workers are keen for answers,
some are ready to take redundancy, and Tata Steel is already hitting deadlines
for the closure of the heavy end of production in Port Talbot by the autumn.