Aberavon AM, David Rees, has welcomed the Welsh Governments decision to hold talks with traditional industries to discuss the impact that high energy costs are having on international competitiveness. Speaking in the Senedd today (25.09.12), he emphasised the importance of traditional Welsh Industries and highlighted the pressures faced by such industries in the current climate. David Rees AM, who has championed this issue in the Senedd, was reassured by the First Minister who indicated that he had raised this important issue with the Prime Minister and UK Government ministers seeking them to create a level playing field for such industries to compete in global markets.

David Rees AM said:
“I hope that these discussions will form a platform from which the Welsh Government can help to create a fairer and more balanced costing process within the UK. Whilst I fully support the need to protect the environment, Tata Steel is the biggest private business in Wales, employing about 7,500 people. Imposing a tax on them that will not be borne by other steel producers in the world will threaten thousands of jobs and could devastate areas such as Port Talbot.”

David Rees AM added:
“Over the summer we have seen the excellent progress being made on the rebuilding of No 4 blast furnace at the Port Talbot works, reflecting an investment of £185 million into Welsh steelmaking. TATA has already indicated that the UK’s high energy costs and the carbon tax will disadvantage such energy intensive industries based here. It is vital that the Welsh Government continues to do everything possible to support our traditional heavy industries.”

Steel giant Tata has warned that a new carbon tax, which has already been dubbed a ‘super tax’, announced in the UK Budget last year dealt the industry a potentially severe blow. Dr Kark Kholer, Head of TATA steel Europe, stated “The UK is far more expensive due to government levies and fees than other places like Germany, like France where our direct competitors sit”. He called for ministers to remove obstacles that are in their way as far as competitiveness is concerned