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David Cameron in surprise trip to Tata Steel works to reassure workers

By Andrew Woodcock

Published 27/04/2016

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron has visited the Tata Steel works at Port Talbot in south Wales to assure workers, unions and bosses of the Government's commitment to support the future of steel-making at the under-threat plant.

Unions welcomed the recent offer of state support for potential buyers of Tata Steel's loss-making UK assets, but stressed that any action must cover plants across the whole country and not just Wales.

The general secretary of the Community union, Roy Rickhuss, said the Prime Minister had "looked proud steelworkers in the eye and promised to do all he could to protect their jobs", and said his union would "hold him at his word".

The PM's surprise visit came as a director at the plant seeks to put together a management buyout of the firm's UK business, which was put up for sale last month.

A plant in Lisburn employing around 70 people is to be sold to Greybull Capital in a separate deal.

Mr Cameron was joined by Wales Secretary Alun Cairns for a tour of the plant, which employs more than 4,000 workers. But Business Secretary Sajid Javid - who earlier this month flew to India for talks with Tata's Mumbai-based bosses - was not present.

Downing Street said that the PM and Welsh Secretary spoke to workers in the Port Talbot blast furnace control room and finishing lines before holding round-table discussions with unions and managers, including the chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, Hans Fischer.

Mr Cameron's official spokeswoman said that talks focused on "the action the Government has taken to support the steel industry", adding: "The Prime Minister underlined our commitment to working with Tata to support the future of steel-making."

Belfast Telegraph

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