Economy Secretary, Ken Skates and Chief Executive Officer of Tata Steel UK, Bimlendra Jha met today to discuss a developing package of Welsh Government support for Tata plants in Wales.
The developing package would potentially include increased support for training, programmes to drive up efficiency and environmental improvements, and increased research and development.
Speaking after the meeting Ken Skates said:
“It is clear Tata Steel UK is facing significant issues , including pensions and energy, which need the help of a number of stakeholders to resolve. We remain fully committed to doing all we can to support steel making in Wales. Our primary concern is for the Tata Steel workforce, and associated communities and for the long-term and sustainable future of the whole Tata Steel operation in Wales.
“We will continue to do all we can to safeguard the industry and the substantial value it delivers directly and indirectly to the Welsh economy, and we will continue to support any future ownership structure for Tata Steel's activities that offers the best prospects of retaining jobs and sustainable steel production here in in Wales.
“Today’s meeting was part of an ongoing series of constructive discussions that we have held over recent month with Tata Steel We are moving forward with a proposed package of support and remain committed to working closely with Tata Steel and doing all we can to secure the long term future of steel making in Wales.
“As part of these discussions, and as is normal for any investment project, we are also covering conditions the Welsh Government will require”.
Chief Executive Officer of Tata Steel UK Bimlendra Jha said:
"The Welsh government has maintained its promise to support training, innovation and environment improvement schemes for the Welsh operations t of Tata Steel UK.
“We had a constructive dialogue detailing potential areas of support. Given the challenges facing the steel industry in general our shared focus is on placing Welsh plants on a more competitive and sustainable footing going forwards.”
Following the Cabinet Secretary’s visits to Tata Steel’s sites at Port Talbot, Trostre, Llanwern and Shotton earlier this summer, considerable progress has been made in developing a potential package of support for Tata plants in Wales.
This encompasses a range of projects which will allow the Welsh plants to become more efficient and able to withstand global competition. The support includes a major environmental improvement project for Port Talbot, a potential investment in sustainable premium product capability for Shotton and a potential training support package for employees across all Tata Steel sites in Wales.
A significant increase in research and development investment in new products at Port Talbot is also expected which, if secured, would signal a significant vote of confidence in the future of Welsh steelmaking, and provide the cutting edge innovation so critical to success within the industry.