TODAY (19th October), the Council Leader for Neath Port Talbot gave a statement to the Tata Steel Port Talbot Transition Board:
“I think the first important point I should make is that very little information has been shared with the Council about the investment deal that has been struck between Tata and the UK Government. Please take what I am going to say this afternoon with that in mind.
“Steel is of huge importance to Port Talbot. It is also very significant for the wider economy and national security. I am sure everyone in this room understands that.
“The Council believes that steel must continue to play a central role in developing our economy into the future.
“We have been working with Tata and other partners for many years now, through the City Deal and the South Wales Industrial Cluster.
“We have worked together on new innovations aimed at securing the future of steelmaking and all of its associated industries here in Port Talbot.
“We believe that there are new and nationally important market opportunities in front of us, such as floating offshore wind.
The prospect of being able to manufacture green steel here, on this site that can be turned into turbines that will generate green power at scale in the Celtic Sea and elsewhere is something we are very excited about.
“We look forward to seeing how this investment will not only secure existing market opportunities. We hope to see new markets exploited bringing with it well paid, sustainable jobs here in Port Talbot and the wider supply chain.
“It is for all of these reasons that I welcome the news that there will be investment in transitioning steel making from its current technologies to a greener alternative.
“But what is also clear is that there will be an impact on jobs, businesses and our wider community during the transition period.
“At a time when many people across our communities are experiencing hardship, we must all work together to minimise those impacts.
“We must also commit to a long term plan that will place our economy on a stronger and sustainable footing.
“I can assure you that the Council will play a full and active role in helping to make this happen.
“But it will take all of us in this room to deliver a just transition – as well as our wider partners and the community itself.
“I will leave my comments there for this afternoon Chair as I recognise today is just the start of a conversation.”