The Social Democratic Party (SDP) calls for steel production at Port Talbot to be brought into public ownership – as a strategic necessity.

The announcement by its owners Tata Steel of the closure of both blast furnaces at the Port Talbot steel plant is a devastating blow to the community, South Wales and to UK industry.  This is the culmination of decades of cluelessness in industrial policy, hostility to national planning, an unthinking – almost religious – attachment to free trade ideology and a recent obsession with net zero posturing.

The political class is willing to bail out bankers but is content to throw industrial workers – and their communities – on the scrapheap at enormous social and economic cost.  This is self-defeating and can’t be allowed go on.  

The loss of UK capacity to produce virgin steel will make our country an outlier among the G20 – a predicament that only the state can now remedy.  Those who govern us have learned nothing from the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia Ukraine conflict which exposed our over-reliance on imported energy and other products – often from hostile powers. We must improve our national industrial resilience.

SDP leader William Clouston commented: “The ‘do nothing’ attitude of this Tory government has run its course.  It’s disastrous because it will destroy a community.  It’s unpatriotic because it weakens UK industrial capacity.  It’s dishonest because it won’t reduce carbon emissions – it will simply shift primary steel production overseas and make us even more reliant on imports.”

“I’m calling for an urgent plan of action to bring the Port Talbot plant into public hands as a national strategic asset, to integrate it with allied industries such as the planned coking coal project at Whitehaven together with new UK energy production.  We can re-build our industrial base – but we must elect those who are fully committed to doing so.”

Family, Community, Nation.