Fighting to mitigate TATA job losses

This is an article for the Glamorgan Gazette and the South Wales Evening Post

The loss of 750 jobs at Tata Steel in Port Talbot is devastating news for the local community and for all those who will lose their job, together with their families. These are well-paid jobs and will prove difficult to replace. It will impact on our entire region.

The Welsh Government should do all it can to support those who have been made redundant and to help them retrain and find other work.

Our main task now must be to secure the remaining jobs by tackling some of the underlying causes of this crisis. Both the UK and Welsh Governments must work together to stop the dumping of cheap Chinese Steel, to cut energy costs and to mitigate other costs such as high business rates.

When the steel works closed in Newport in 2003, the Welsh Government acted decisively by setting up Newport Unlimited, an Urban Regeneration Company, to help counter the impact of the decline in heavy industry and manufacturing.

During the ten plus years that Newport Unlimited was in place it contributed to attracting £230 million of private investment to that area, was credited with the transformation of the city's river frontage and attracting the Ryder Cup golf tournament to Newport in 2010. It is my view that a similar initiative could make a massive difference in helping to revitalise Port Talbot.

I welcome the bid by the Welsh Minister to create an Enterprise Zone that encompasses Port Talbot, but I believe that we need to go the extra mile and that the additional funding and focus that an urban regeneration company can bring to the area could make a huge difference.

Such a company could bring benefits to adjoining communities as well.

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