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Tata Steel: Port Talbot closure forces UK to rely on China for steel as MP raises ‘national security’ concerns

About 2,800 jobs will go over the next 18 months, with a further 300 to be lost after

Matt Mathers
Friday 19 January 2024 19:55 GMT
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MP's anger at Tata Steel Port Talbot closure

Tata’s decision to axe 3,000 jobs at its plant in South Wales will leave the UK reliant on foreign steel imports for years to come, as an MP warned the move raised “serious questions” about national security.

Stephen Kinnock, the shadow minister for immigration and Labour MP for Aberavon - home of the Port Talbot steelworks - said the move leaves the UK the only G20 country unable to make “its own steel from scratch”.

Earlier Tata confirmed plans to close blast furnaces at the plant, with the loss of more than 3,000 jobs. About 2,800 jobs will go over the next 18 months, with a further 300 to be lost after. The Indian-owned firm said the plans were aimed at “reversing more than a decade of losses”.

The move also sparked outrage among several unions.

A statement by the GMB and Community said: “It is an absolute disgrace that Tata Steel, and the UK government, appear intent on pursuing the cheapest instead of the best plan for our industry, our steelworkers and our country.”

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We’re pausing our updates for the day, thanks for following along.

Katy Clifton19 January 2024 19:55
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Rishi Sunak hints at pre-election tax cut to win votes

Rishi Sunak has said there is “more to come” in terms of tax cuts as he prepares a pre-election bid to win votes.

The prime minister is plotting a tax giveaway in his March Budget, which could be the last before voters head to the polls this autumn.

Archie Mitchell reports:

Rishi Sunak hints at pre-election tax cut to win votes

The prime minister is plotting a tax giveaway in his March Budget, which could be the last before voters head to the polls this autumn

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 18:00
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All Nicola Sturgeon’s pandemic WhatsApp messages deleted, Covid inquiry hears

All Nicola Sturgeon’s pandemic WhatsApp messages have been deleted, the Covid inquiry has heard.

At a hearing in Edinburgh, the official investigation into the crisis was told that the former first minister of Scotland had “retained no messages whatsoever”.

Kate Devlin reports:

All Nicola Sturgeon’s pandemic WhatsApp messages deleted, Covid inquiry hears

Ms Sturgeon had repeatedly refused to reveal whether she erased messages

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 17:00
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Boris ally claims Sunak hit by ‘at least 29’ no-confidence letters from Tory MPs

A leading Boris Johnson supporter has claimed that “at least” 29 Conservative MPs have submitted letters of no-confidence against Rishi Sunak.

Andrea Jenkyns MP – the Tory backbencher who has been a consistent critic of Mr Sunak – said more than two dozen colleagues had told her they have handed in letters.

Adam Forrest reports:

Boris Johnson ally claims Sunak hit by ‘at least 29’ no-confidence letters

Right-wing rebel Andrea Jenkyns’s claim dismissed as ‘nonsense’ by Tory moderates

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 16:30
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Listen: Mother tells Sadiq Khan she ‘can’t afford to buy food’ because of Ulez fees

Mother tells Sadiq Khan she ‘can’t afford to buy food’ because of Ulez fees

A mother told Sadiq Khan that she can't afford to feed herself and her daughter as Ulez has taken the money she had to buy essentials. Sarah, from Croydon, told the London Mayor that she had a no-fault eviction from her home which has since left her in “perpetual debt" and has to wait for payday just to buy milk. "Ulez [has] come and taken my money that I had to buy these things. Now I don't have anything," she added. Mr Khan responded: "We have got a housing crisis across the country. We are spending more money on benefits than bricks and mortar."

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 16:00
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Sunak ‘determined’ to pass Rwanda Bill ahead of Lords showdown

Rishi Sunak has said he is “determined” to get his Rwanda legislation through Parliament, as ministers prepare for stiff resistance in the House of Lords to the flagship asylum policy.

Many peers have already expressed deep unease about the plan, with ministers braced for a battle with the Upper House over the Bill.

Dominic McGrath reports:

Sunak ‘determined’ to pass Rwanda Bill ahead of Lords showdown

Many peers have already expressed deep unease about the plan, with ministers braced for a battle with the Upper House over the Bill.

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 15:45
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Editing of witness statements used to prosecute subpostmasters is ‘shameful and appalling’, Fujitsu boss says

Watch:

Fujitsu boss: Editing of witness statements to prosecute subpostmasters is ‘shameful’

Fujitsu boss Paul Patterson has described the editing of witness statements that were used to prosecute subpostmasters to defend the Horizon IT system as “shameful”. During Friday’s hearing (19 January), Mr Patterson said he was “surprised” that detail of bugs and errors was not included in the witness statements given by Fujitsu staff to the Post Office, and acknowledged he’d seen “some evidence” of editing of witness statements by others. Counsel to the inquiry Jason Beer KC then asked Mr Patterson how he would describe the editing out of bugs or “data integrity problems” in witness statements. Mr Patterson replied: “Shameful, appalling.”

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 15:30
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Britain will be forced to rely on steel from India and China after Tata closures in Port Talbot

The closure of two blast furnaces at Britain’s biggest steelworks will lead to thousands of job losses and leave the UK reliant on foreign steel imports for years to come.

In a fresh blow to Rishi Sunak, as the UK teeters on the brink of recession, Tata Steel said it is cutting 2,800 jobs at its plant in Port Talbot, south Wales. It came as the steel giant confirmed it is closing both blast furnaces at the site.

Archie Mitchell and Alex Ross report:

Britain will be forced to rely on steel from India and China after Tata closures

The closures come despite Tata being promised up to £500m by the UK government in a bid to keep the plant open and produce steel in a greener way

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 15:15
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Watch: Sunak laughs off mother pleading with him to fix NHS waiting lists for her daughter

Rishi Sunak has been captured laughing as he was challenged in the street by a woman who expressed her anger over dire NHS waiting lists.

Cameras caught the awkward exchange as the PM was confronted by voters in Winchester town centre about the state of the health service.

Adam Forrest reports:

Rishi Sunak laughs as shopper challenges him over NHS waits in awkward exchange

‘My daughter spent seven hours waiting’: PM confronted by woman in Winchester town centre

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 14:56
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Tata statement - in full

In a statement, Tata said: “Tata Steel today announced it will commence statutory consultation as part of its plan to transform and restructure its UK business.

“This plan is intended to reverse more than a decade of losses and transition from the legacy blast furnaces to a more sustainable, green steel business.

“The transformation would secure most of Tata Steel UK’s existing product capability and maintain the country’s self-sufficiency in steelmaking, while also reducing Tata Steel UK’s CO2 emissions by five million tonnes per year and overall UK country emissions by about 1.5 per cent.”

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 14:40

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