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Church calls for government intervention over steelworks closure

Tue 19 Jan 2016
By Aaron James

The Church in Wales is calling on government ministers to step in and help all those who've lost their jobs in the latest round of redundancies at Tata Steel.

On Monday, it was announced that 750 jobs are to go at the Port Talbot plant.

Local churches are now stepping in to support those who are set for life out of work.

Tata Steel announced the redundancies at the South Wales plant - the biggest in Britain - as the British steel industry continues to struggle because of cheaper Chinese imports and what some are calling high energy costs in the UK.

The site was reportedly losing one million pounds every day.

Christians in Port Talbot are offering prayer, a listening ear and debt advice to anyone struggling with the job cuts.

There is debate about whether the UK government should act to support the ailing steel industry, and how it should do this if it does intervene.

The Church in Wales has said urged the Welsh government to intervene to secure the future of the sector, and urged central government to ensure all of the steelworkers laid off are properly supported.

 

Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Llandaff, Rt Revd David Wilbourne, told Premier's News Hour: "Edward VIII just before his abdication [in 1936] visited Dowlais... where the steelworks there had closed down.

"He said, 'these works brought all these people here, and something should be done to get them at work again'.

"Something should be done for people because they're God's children and deserve to be treated with respect and have a life worthy of being a child of God.

"God so loved the world he impaled himself upon it, and God's there in sorrow and in dark times bringing a bit of light."

 

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: "The steel industry is having to take tough decisions in the face of extremely challenging conditions but this is deeply disappointing news.

"Our immediate focus will be on working with the Welsh Assembly to support workers in South Wales as well as other Tata UK sites to find new jobs as quickly as possible.

"The government continues to engage closely with Tata on how we can help during this difficult period.

"The government has taken clear action to help the industry, through cutting energy costs, taking action on imports, government procurement and EU emissions regulations, meeting key steel industry asks."

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield speaking to Bishop David Wilbourne on the News Hour:


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