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Tata Steel demanding another UK steel su ...

Tata Steel demanding another UK steel subsidy or they close Port Talbot plant.

Jul 23, 2022

Our steel industry is at the heart of UK national infrastructure. Privatising it has left us vulnerable to owner demands. Steel is an incredibly important part of our national infrastructure. Shipbuilding and repair - my old trade – but also railways, communications, energy production, utilities, baked beans, but it’s also crucial to our defence capabilities, if we can’t manufacture steel, we cannot manufacture our means to protect ourselves so it will come as no surprise I’m sure to hear that once upon a time it was publicly owned, until 1988, when Thatcher sold it off like she did everything else that we owned that wasn’t nailed down. British Steel effectively ceased to be. Much of our steel infrastructure is currently owned by Indian conglomerate Tata, becoming Tata Steel. They are back in the news this week as once again, Tata are threatening to pull out of their Port Talbot plant, a Welsh town who’s existence pretty much relies on steel manufacture, some 4000 people work there. It is the largest steel manufacturing plant in the UK. You might recall that a few years back they threatened to pull out, deciding the plant was no longer profitable. Sajid Javid was the energy minister at the time, he'd buggered off to Australia on holiday and had to be dragged back kicking and screaming to deal with it. The government had to step in with a subsidy to convince them otherwise and, having had government money thrown at them, they kept going for a bit longer, but now they’re threatening to shut the plant down again, holding our steel manufacturing capabilities to ransom once more as Tata demand we give them £1.5bn to move from their traditional blast furnaces to electric arc furnaces to reduce emissions. They have to make their industry greener, but because they can literally hold our steel manufacturing abilities over our heads like some privatised sword of Damocles, they’re telling us to pay up or they’re off. They don’t care that it’s key to UK infrastructure, they’ve other plants around the world, they’ve no loyalty to us. Privatisation of essential public services and industry has been catastrophic, has cost us dearly as everything becomes more expensive for us, energy for instance and when workers at the plant have been protesting since 2016 warning about this, telling the government to renationalise the plant, the ideological aversion the Tories have to owning anything meant it fell on deaf ears. Thatcherism is a plague we’re still living with. Private companies are loyal to their shareholders, nobody else. Our lives, the goods and services and protections we rely on in their hands leaves us vulnerable and without leverage. Thatcher enslaved this country to them. It's past time we took it back.

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