Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has visited one of the largest steel employers in Wales to discuss the challenging conditions faced by the industry.
The Rhondda-based politician visited the UK Headquarters of Celsa Steel in Cardiff to discuss with Managing Director Luis Sanz the challenges the company faces and the ways in which they can continue to play a major role in the Welsh economy. The company currently supports more than 3,000 jobs in Wales and adds more than £100 million to the Welsh economy.
The steel industry in the UK is fighting a battle on three fronts against expensive business rates, high energy costs and cheap imports flooding the domestic and foreign markets.
Leanne Wood said while the focus rightly remains on the future of Tata steel in Wales, it is important to also recognise that there are others affected across the steel industry as a whole.
"I saw first-hand the efficient operation that Celsa Steel run at their UK headquarters in Cardiff," said Leanne. "They took time to emphasise their commitment to Wales and their support of local companies as suppliers.
"The relationships they have built up over a decade of steel making in Wales are helping them in the challenging conditions they face now.
"Despite having one of the most efficient electrical furnaces in the world and developing a number of projects to give them a competitive edge, making a profit is proving to be almost impossible for Celsa due to a series of factors out of their control.
"The overriding message from them is that they want a level playing field so that they can compete. At the moment they are hindered by high energy costs, high business rates and a flood of cheap imports coming into the UK and European markets."
Ms Wood added: "Celsa steel are not in a unique position. More must be done to help the steel industry. These are crucial times because we cannot allow conditions to become so bad that our major steel employers are forced to relocate because they are unable to produce steel without making a loss.
"We need steel to be made in Wales. It makes no sense to invest in building new infrastructure projects using steel produced elsewhere.
"I urge the Westminster and Welsh governments to focus their support on the steel industry, to come up with a plan as a matter of urgency to save it.
"The many thousands of people that rely on this crucial foundation industry for employment deserve nothing less."
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