UKIP employment spokesman, Jane Collins MEP has slammed the government and the EU over the latest jobs cuts in the steel industry, branding them “another EU endorsed body blow to British industry” and demanding to know when “the government will take heed that the steel industry in the UK is about to disappear if action is not taken to tackle energy prices and green levies.”
Explaining her anger at the job losses, Ms Collins said, “My heart goes out to those workers and the families affected by these job losses. The UK’s successes were built with British steel, but thanks to a government unwilling to challenge the EU over its ban on state aid; EU carbon caps and green levies; and the resulting high UK energy prices, the whole UK steel industry will soon pass into the pages of history.”
Ms Collins comments come after it was revealed that Indian company, TATA – the UK’s biggest steel production company – was set to cut another 1050 steel jobs, many in areas already struggling with unemployment, including at its biggest plant in Port Talbot, Wales.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms Collins continued, saying, “After the massive job losses in the steel industry last year, this is not a ‘wake-up call’ to the government – it’s the sound of the death knell if action is not taken to secure our steel producing future.”
“While the government and Labour are quick to blame the low price of steel due to Chinese dumping, they fail to mention that they are powerless to prop up industry in this country without permission from Brussels, due to the EU’s state aid and competition rules.”
“When you consider that much of the current situation is created by the weak Euro, EU green levies and carbon caps, together with the high energy prices this creates, it’s a strange juxtaposition.”
“My fear is that if David Cameron does not swallow his pride, put to one side his ‘renegotiation’ and go cap-in-hand to the European Commission to ask for permission to act, the steel industry in the UK will be dead by the end of the year.”
“Every industry has its ups and downs and UK steel has proven time and again that when economic factors are right, it can be hugely profitable. With a little help from the government to secure the thousands of jobs currently under threat, the steel industry could weather the current economic storm and maintain its position as one of the world’s highest quality steel producers.”