Christina Rees, MP for Neath, is calling on the UK Government to work with the Labour Party on a cross-party basis to pass emergency legislation giving Ministers the power to reject the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) recommendations; temporarily extend all 19 steel safeguards which would expire on the 30th June; and allow time to find a long term solution to protect the British Steel Industry.
Currently, when the TRA publishes a recommendation that certain safeguards be removed, the Secretary of State for International Trade has to either accept the recommendations and scrap nine of the current nineteen steel safeguards, or reject the recommendations which would keep the safeguards until they automatically expire at the end of the month. But by taking Labour’s advice to pass emergency legislation, the UK Government could reject the recommendations and extend the current safeguards while a long-term solution is found.
TRA’s recommendations puts 33,700 well-paid, good-quality, skilled jobs at risk in the UK, in a sector where wages are up to 46% higher than average in regions where they are concentrated, such as South Wales. Fewer safeguards could also lead to more imports of cheap steel from around the world, thus weakening the British steel industry.
Christina Rees MP took part in a debate in the House of Commons pressing for action to be taken.
Christina Rees, MP for Neath, said:
“Steel is a vital industry in South Wales, both for the economy and the prosperity of our communities. If the TRA’s recommendations were to be accepted, it risks a potential disaster for the British Steel industry and threatens jobs in Neath.
“This comes at the worst possible time when the British steel industry is already reeling from the impact of the Covid pandemic, disruption caused by Brexit, a loss of key investors, and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the interconnectedness of the steel industry.
“If the UK Government is serious about levelling-up our country and defending national interest, they must work with Labour to pass the necessary emergency legislation. Labour is prepared to pull out all the stops to protect these vital safeguards and keep pushing for a British steel industry that is ready and confident for the future.”