Tories face fresh calls for action to protect Hartlepool steel jobs

Tata Steel in Hartlepool which was hit by the news of job cuts  this week.
Tata Steel in Hartlepool which was hit by the news of job cuts this week.

The Government is coming under renewed pressure to save the steel sector after a development in Europe.

Labour MEPs have gained support for an amendment which calls on the European Commission to review EU State Aid rules for the steel industry.

This week has seen another disastrous blow to the UK steel industry. It will have a devastating impact on those people who have lost their jobs, the companies that supply Tata and local communities.

Paul Brannen, North East MEP

It comes after 1,050 jobs were lost in the UK steel industry including 62 at the Tata Steel plant in Brenda Road, Hartlepool.

North East MEP Jude Kirton-Darling said: “Whether in Westminster or Brussels, the Tories talk, say they are ‘deeply disappointed’ with job losses here or plant closures there, but they don’t actually do anything.

“Recently, Tory MEPs voted against a report that recommends a level playing field for the steel industry throughout Europe and proposes limiting the dumping of cheap Chinese steel - an issue David Cameron has failed to confront the President of China on. It is Labour MEPs who been pressing the European Commission and ministers to act.”

Fellow North East MEP Paul Brannen said the UK government should be “providing emergency financial assistance, investment in research and development, and training and environmental efficiency schemes in a similar manner to that which other European governments are already doing without contravening existing State Aid rules.”

Earlier, this week Prime Minister David Cameron insisted the Government was taking action.

He said: “We’ll work very closely with the company and with the local communities to do everything we can to get people the training and assistance they need, and will continue to do everything we can to help the steel industry.”