Farage to call on Wales First Minister to defy the EU to save Welsh steel ahead of major debate in Cardiff

I will call on Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones to be brave and ‘defy’ the EU if the wants to save the UK’s largest steelworks in Port Talbot in South Wales, and the livelihoods of thousands of men and women in Wales who depend upon it.

There are 4,500 jobs at immediate risk as the plant is reportedly haemorrhaging £1m per week, with a further 12,000 jobs in the supply chain dependent on using the steel produced on site.

Thousands of workers in Wales have been plunged into unemployment in the region in the last three months, decimating the economies of entire communities, while the First Minister continues to bang the drum for the European Union and doggedly pursue a renewables agenda which undermines Wales’ historic predominance in heavy manufacturing, particularly steel. Almost a tenth of the entire value of Welsh exports comes from steel, amounting to an estimated £1.3bn per year, as well as the critical dependence on Welsh steel of many related industries in Wales.

Heavy manufacturing has historically been the mainstay of the Welsh economy, but since 2007 under the leadership of Carwyn Jones, manufacturing facilities in Llanwern, Newport, Trostre, Shotton, Ammanford, Pontardulais, Tafarnaubach and Caerphilly have all been eradicated with the Port Talbot Steelworks remaining the only major integrated steelmaking plant. That is 8 out of 9 metal ore refineries destroyed in under a decade at least in part due to horrendous policy making that has severely damaged the lives of the communities dependent upon that employment.

With a total 16,000 jobs at risk, and entire families reliant upon jobs based at the steelworks, surely it is high time the First Minister showed some teeth and put the lives of Welsh workers ahead of a sycophantic obeisance to the European Union.

What have been crippling the steel works in Port Talbot for years are increasing carbon taxes and energy costs, meaning it simply cannot compete on a level playing field with other steel plants around the world. The EU’s green agenda and in particular the 2008 Climate and Energy package, is at the crux of the steep rise in energy costs as well as the UK’s own Climate Change Act, authored by one Ed Miliband, former Labour leader, which was backed by the entire Labour Party.

Meanwhile the EU has failed to be aggressive enough in tackling the dumping of cheap steel from China, something that is set to get progressively worse as the Chinese economy continued to flail. Outside EU we could use our WTO seat to immediately start anti-dumping action against China over steel as well as refuse to recognise it as a market economy, as EU is about to do.

But there is another way to stop this devastation of manufacturing. It has become clear that if Tata Steel were permitted to access the incredible coal reserves, 100 million tones of coking coal or a million tonnes per year for the next century, ironically right in its backyard in the Margam Hills, it would dramatically reduce the costs of operations and allow it to establish its own power plant on site, which although it has received planning permission, is blocked by the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive which requires member states to limit flue gas emissions from combustion plants with a thermal capacity of 50MW of greater. The directive applies to fossil fuel power stations, petroleum refineries, and you guessed it, steelworks. Either plants must opt to comply with the emissions limits, or close completely.

So not only has EU energy policy driven manufacturing in Wales into the ground costing thousands of jobs, but measures that could be taken to save heavy industry are also being stymied by policies drawn up in Brussels. But perhaps what is even more sickening is that in the eleventh hour, as hardworking men and women go to bed every night unsure of what the next month or year will bring, scared of losing their jobs, their financial security, wondering how they will feed their families, the EU once again is preventing the UK government from doing anything to help.

Spread the love
Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *