First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced the next tranche in a series of major investments as part of an ongoing programme of support to secure the long term future of the Tata steel works in Wales.
Today’s package includes £8m towards an £18m investment in the power plant that will reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions at the Port Talbot plant and plans for a new research and development base in Swansea.
Mr Jones said:
“The Welsh Government has worked tirelessly over many months to help find a viable future for the Tata operations in Wales. We have worked closely with Tata’s management teams to develop an investment plan to enable real efficiencies to be delivered across the Welsh plants and help safeguard jobs into the future.
“Innovation and working to high environmental standards are critical to ensuring the steel industry in Wales is globally competitive and has a long term future here. So I am delighted to be able to announce this package of support to ensure the Tata sites in Wales remain at the cutting edge of the industry.”
“The £18m investment in the power plant at Port Talbot will reduce electricity costs and cut carbon emissions by recycling waste process gasses that currently escape to the atmosphere. Tata have also agreed to make South Wales one of their two main R&D sites in the UK and will explore the development of new products at Port Talbot.
“Our support provides a critical component part of the companies plan to deliver a sustainable business and follows yesterday’s agreement between Tata and the Unions and our £4m investment in developing the skills of the workforce, today’s announcement is a further step forward towards a more confident future for steel making in Wales.”
The First Minister added:
“Importantly, our support will be contingent on legally binding conditions, protecting both jobs and investment in Welsh plants, regardless of future ownership.
“While today’s announcement is a key part of providing a brighter future for Steel making in Wales, I am again calling for the UK Government to urgently tackle the UKs high energy costs relative to mainland Europe. In today's trading environment this issue is more important than ever before”
Bimlendra Jha, Chief Executive Officer of Tata Steel UK said:
“Today’s announcement from the Welsh Government will be an important contribution towards developing a sustainable future for our steel business based in Wales and throughout the UK.
“There is still much work to be done to ensure Tata Steel UK is sustainable, requiring all stakeholders to do all they can to enable the company to achieve its plan in the coming months and years.
“Today’s announcement builds on yesterday’s news from Tata Steel UK and the trade unions of further steps we will be taking.
“I would like to thank the Welsh Government for their continued support for the steel sector in Wales.”