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The time for talk is over on Tata steel

This is an article for the Glamorgan Gazette

The news that Tata is to sell its UK operation is deeply unsettling and worrying for the region I represent, those whose livelihood depend on this business and for the future of our area's economy.

The Assembly has been recalled to discuss this issue and we have had an opportunity to question Welsh Ministers, but the time for talking is over. We need action and in particular we need the UK Government to step up to the mark and put its money where its mouth is when it comes to the future of the steel industry in the UK.

The Welsh and UK Governments need to work together closely to facilitate a sale and ensure that Tata continues as a going concern. This includes cutting the plant's costs by, cutting business rates, reducing energy costs, going to the EU with proposals for higher tariffs on steel imports from outside the EU and, if necessary taking a stake in the plant themselves in partnership with a buyer so as to make a sale sustainable and achievable.

If a buyer cannot be found then the UK Government (as this affects more than Wales) should fully nationalise the business to make it profitable in the long term so it can be resold at a later date. The Welsh Government should be a partner in this process.

In the meantime, we need action to attract new jobs to Port Talbot including immediate implementation of the Enterprise Zone proposal with its capital allowances and the creation of an urban development company with a brief to attract new investment to the area and a capital budget to facilitate that.

This is something the Welsh Government can and should do immediately. The future of our region depends on it.

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