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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 15:48 GMT
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.”


Recession fears as Christmas sales much lower than expected

Sales by UK retailers has fallen at its fastest rate in nearly three years in December as people did some of their Christmas shopping earlier than usual.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that retail sales volumes have had the worst performance since January 2021, and are thought to have dropped 3.2 per cent in December, down from a rise of 1.4 per cent the month before.

Zoe Grunewald reports:

Christmas retail sales fall unexpectedly in December

Shoppers spent less in December than previous years, spending less and buying earlier

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 09:46

ICYMI: Robert Harris is right – Rishi Sunak’s popularity has entered ‘death valley’

With polling this bad, you could almost mistake it for the plot in one of the ‘Fatherland’ author’s new thrillers, writes John Rentoul. Yet the PM soldiers on – or, at least, he’s trying to...

Read John’s piece in full here:

Robert Harris is right – Sunak’s popularity has entered ‘death valley’ | John Rentoul

With polling this bad, you could almost mistake it for the plot in one of the ‘Fatherland’ author’s new thrillers, writes John Rentoul. Yet the PM soldiers on – or, at least, he’s trying to...

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 09:21

Tata steel bosses urged to ‘look again’ at alternatives

Tata Steel bosses should “look again” at an alternative, union-proposed plan to closing the blast furnaces in South Wales, a shadow minister has said.

Stephen Kinnock,  Labour MP for Aberavon - home of the Port Talbot steelworks - told Sky News: “The steelworks here in Port Talbot is the beating heart of our economy and of our community.

“Multi-unions (sic) have come together and put a plan on the table which would actually be much more of a bridge rather than a cliff edge to the changes that we know have to take place within our steel industry.

“But instead of that, we have got a plan which has been cobbled together between Tata Steel and the UK government which is going to use £500 million of taxpayers’ money to make 3,000 men and women redundant.

“And it is also going to remove the British capability to make its own steel from scratch.

“We will become the only country in the G20 that is no longer able to do that, so that is not the right way to go. Tata Steel should really look again at the multi-union proposal.”

More comments from Mr Kinnock below:

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 09:10

Jeremy Hunt hints at more tax cuts before general election

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has signalled he wants to cut taxes in the Budget, as the Tories gear up for an election in the face of dire poll ratings.

Tory MPs are clamouring for a move that would win votes as the latest opinion poll by YouGov shows support for the Tories is at its lowest level since Liz Truss’s final days as prime minister.

Holding out the prospect of more money for the NHS, families and the armed forces, Mr Hunt said he wanted to focus on growth in the Budget on 6 March.

Jane Dalton has more details:

Jeremy Hunt hints at more tax cuts before general election

Jeremy Hunt aims to help Tories win votes after dash to Davos in private jet

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 08:55

Government has ‘no industrial strategy’ - Labour

The government has “no industrial strategy”, says shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock, Zoe Grunewald reports.

Mr Kinnock has accused the government of “sitting on its hands” over the expected closure of the Tate steel plant.

He told Times Radio it was “deeply frustrating” that the government implemented a “short term plan” by pursuing a narrow Electric Arc Furnace-only model, rather than innovate.

Tata Steel is expected to confirm plans to press ahead with plans to close both blast furnaces at its biggest plant, likely resulting in more than 3,000 job losses.

File photo: Stephen Kinnock (Getty Images)

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 08:40

Home Office using dummy plane to practice forcing migrants onto Rwanda flights

The Home Office has hired an aircraft hangar and a dummy plane for security officials to practise forcing asylum seekers onto flights to Rwanda, it has emerged.

As the government prepares for deportation flights to take off, security guards have undergone special training programmes to deal with disruptive people.

Archie Mitchell reports:

Home Office hires dummy plane to practice forcing migrants onto Rwanda flights

The Home Office believes five officers will be needed for each migrant being deported

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 08:25

‘Dogs in the street’ know Rwanda flights are ‘probably never going to happen’ - senior Tory

A senior Conservative peer has cast doubt about whether prime minister Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda policy will ever see asylum seekers deported to east Africa.

Ahead of the House of Lords debating the Safety of Rwanda Bill, former Scottish Tory leader Baroness Ruth Davidson said there “are dogs in the street that know” that deportation flights are “probably never going to happen”.

In comments made to The Today Podcast and broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lady Davidson said: “Let’s have a debate about immigration, absolutely.

“Every sovereign nation should be in charge of who comes in; not everybody has a right to go to every country in the world — I completely get all of that. But where is the balance in this, rather than some of the language that is being used, some of the knots that people are getting into?

“And this thing about putting people on planes to Rwanda. I mean, there are dogs in the street that know that, one, it is probably never going to happen.

“And two, if it does, it is going to be a number so small that it makes very little difference to the bottom line.”

Lady Davidson (PA Wire)

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 08:07

Sunak out and about in southeast

Rishi Sunak will be out and about on a series of regional visits this morning and give interviews to local outlets.

He is likely to discuss immigration following the successful passage of his Rwanda plan through the House of Commons.

No 10 insists that the visits are not a campaigning trip, Playbook reports.

Yesterday, the prime minister visited Gatwick Airport where he met and chatted with staff.

Matt Mathers19 January 2024 07:59

Chancellor hints at lowering taxes in budget

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says he wants to cut taxes in the next budget, in what commentators believe is an effort to win back votes amid the Conservatives’ dire opinion poll ratings.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Hunt said: “In terms of the direction of travel we look around the world and we note that the economies growing faster than us in North America and Asia tend to have lower taxes, and I believe fundamentally that low-tax economies are more dynamic, more competitive and generate more money for public services like the NHS.

“That’s the direction of travel we would like to go in but it is too early to say what we are going to do.”

Jane Dalton19 January 2024 07:00

Reminder: Brexit will leave UK £300bn worse off, say economists

In case you missed it: Brexit is set to leave Britain’s economy £311bn worse off by the middle of the next decade, a damning new report by top economists has found:

Brexit will leave UK £300bn worse off by 2035, say economists

London mayor Sadiq Khan says huge damage revealed in report shows ‘it’s obvious Brexit isn’t working’

Jane Dalton19 January 2024 06:00

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