I recently questioned the Secretary of State for Wales on contractors and the Tata Steel deal.

Read the full exchange below:

My Question:
The Port Talbot steelworkers in my constituency have given their life to the steel industry and to Tata Steel. The reckless deal that has been done by the UK Government and Tata is a hammer blow for them, and we hope that there is still time for the employer and the unions to come together, drop the bad deal for steel, and adopt the compelling and robust multi-union deal instead.

May I ask the Secretary of State about the role of contractors in all this? Everyone knows that for every job lost in a steelworks, between two and three more are lost through supply chains and contractors, so the figure of 2,800 that is being used is a massive underestimate of the devastating impact, as there will be job losses through supply chains and subcontractors. Does he agree that the number of job losses will be far higher than 2,800 if this reckless deal is adopted? If so, does he agree that it is time for everyone to pull back from the brink and adopt the multi-union plan, which offers us a bridge to the future, rather than the cliff edge that is currently being pursued?

His Answer:
Clearly, there will be an impact on those in the supply chain; there has been absolutely no doubt about that. At the last transition board meeting, at which the hon. Gentleman was present, we discussed that, and we agreed that we would want to support anyone in the supply chain who has been affected, but we cannot start putting numbers on this. It would be irresponsible to start guessing the number of people who will lose their job, but I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there will clearly be an effect.

The hon. Gentleman talks about a reckless plan, but ours was the only plan on the table. He keeps suggesting that we adopt the Syndex plan, but it is not a plan unless Tata agrees to it. I have discussed the Syndex plan with senior management at Tata and with the head of Tata Holdings, Mr Chandrasekaran, in Mumbai. He does not believe that it is commercially viable, and he believes that it would be technically far too difficult to try to build an electric arc furnace on the site of the steel melt shop.

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