Communities across the UK will be “crushed” if steel plants close, an archbishop has warned.
Dr Barry Morgan spoke out and said the survival of the steel industry affected thousands of people and companies.
And he said that if banking was worth saving, so was steel.
Dr Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, said the crisis covering the steel industry affected many areas of the UK - including 500 people who work at the Tata plant, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool
He added: “It raises the question of an industrial strategy for the UK, since steel is the foundation of the manufacturing base of this country and affects many other industries.”
Dr Morgan said he was not an economist but he said it was “a fact that business rates in the steel industry in the UK are much higher than in other parts of the EU and energy costs per ton of steel made in the UK are more than double those of Germany.
“Other countries have imposed tariffs on imports and massively subsidised steel production.
“The danger is that if all steel-making plants are closed, once they are gone, the price of steel will increase and that will have far reaching repercussions on our economy and industry.”
He said it could be too late for communities shaped by the steel industry, and they would “have been crushed”.
“If the banking industry, which still does not fully appreciate the extent of its rescue, judging by the behaviour of some of its members, was deemed worth saving, surely it is worth securing a sustainable future for the steel industry in Wales and the UK?”
In January, Tata Steel shed 1,050 jobs including 62 in Hartlepool.