Britain quitting the UK could mean fresh hope for hundreds of Hartlepool steel workers, says the town’s MP.
Tata employs around 500 people at its pipe mills site in the town and Iain Wright is calling on the Government to set out is vision for the future, while rejecting calls for a second referendum.
“We are where we are when it comes to Brexit, there’s no there’s no point in replaying it,” he said.
“I think it would cause such an outrage in the country if there was a second referendum.
“We’ve got to make sure that where we are benefits our country but certainly benefits Hartlepool.”
He said leaving the EU could give the Government greater control over what it could do to help the industry.
This is not an obsolete, out-of-date industry, this is an important facility for Hartlepool and for the country which needs to be retained.Iain Wright
“In respect of Tata, what I was saying in the House of Commons was that in terms of the state aid rules that sometimes say you can’t help local content and local producers - that’s gone now. We don’t have to worry about that in the slightest,” he added.
“So it’s how can Government push orders into facilities like Hartlepool in order to safeguard those jobs and safeguard steel production and manufacturing?
“I think the Government needs to give a very clear steer in terms of what’s required, certainly in terms of our infrastructure, our energy needs.
“Manufacturing matters in this country and steel is an essential foundation industry.
“Within that industry, the Hartlepool facility is important - it makes money, it is a good employer and it provides those niche products which are really essential, so it’s import we retain that.
“This is not an obsolete, out-of-date industry, this is an important facility for Hartlepool and for the country which needs to be retained.
“What Tata announced last week in terms of selling off their speciality steel business obviously causes concern.
“It’s greater anxiety for the workforce.
“They will also be concerned about their pension because if you’ve got a smaller pension scheme, that makes it less viable.
“On the one hand, there’s greater uncertainty but on the other, speaking about the dynamics of those pipe mills, it is profitable, it makes money, it provides a great product, it has a great and committed workforce.
“It is little wonder several bidders are looking at this.
“They might not have wanted Tata’s entire business in the UK, but they might want to look at areas that are profitable and have a great future - Hartlepool is certainly one of those.”