Plaid Cymru Calls for Taking Stake in Port Talbot Plant
Welsh nationalist political party Plaid Cymru's party leader Mr Adam Price has called for government intervention and suggested that Welsh ministers should
take a stake in Tata Steel's Port Talbot plant and help it become a co-operative, as speculation mounts about the plant's future. Mr Price told "Tata’s announcement caused great anxiety for the communities of Port Talbot who have kept the fires of our economic furnace burning for many decades. The only secure and sustainable future, in the long run, is to return ownership of Welsh steel industry to Welsh hands. The UK government is reportedly being asked to part-nationalise the company. Isn't it even more important that the Welsh Government takes a stake in a company that is overwhelmingly Welsh-based, in terms of its workforce, so those workers and their communities have a seat at the table? The only secure and sustainable future for Port Talbot and the other Welsh steel plants in the long run, is to return the ownership of the industry to Welsh hands.”
He said it should be nationalised as a first step, recapitalised and then finally to mutualise and create a Welsh steel cooperative".
But Welsh politician, who has been First Minister of Wales and Leader of the Welsh Labour Party since 2018, Mr Mark Drakeford suggested the proposal is a distraction. He said "The efforts of the Welsh Government are not going to be distracted into alternatives. At this point, our efforts are concentrated on discussions with a company persuading the UK government, getting them properly around the table, finding a way forward that protects those communities and those jobs."
Tata is looking to sell part of its European arm, prompting concern from Welsh ministers. The move would separate the UK and Dutch parts of Tata's business, which merged back in 1999. Tata Steel is currently in the middle of negotiating with the UK Government for GP 500 million loans to help it get through the pandemic. It has been reported that the UK Government is in talks to part nationalise the company by taking a minority stake. Tata employs 7,000 in Wales, including 4,000 at its steelmaking business in Port Talbot.