Port Talbot: Government braced for “difficult” talks with Tata Steel

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Delaying the proposed closure date of the second blast furnace was something he had already raised with Tata Steel, Mr Reynolds said, but he accepted that Tata’s position had been “very unmovable” on that.

He said the talks were about “more than just the future of that last remaining blast furnace” in Port Talbot.

“There are questions as to how quickly the transition happens, and the scale and size of the new furnaces that might be put in place,” he said.

Mr Reynolds added that the government is implementing policies which will allow greater public investment in the steel industry and will improve the trading environment for businesses.

“That’s everything from how our trade system works, to the energy prices big industrial producers pay,” he said.

Tata Steel had said it would press ahead with its original restructuring plans, regardless of who won the general election.

It has reiterated that position since Labour came to power, with its UK chief executive Rajesh Nair saying he would “be engaging with new ministers” over its “ambitious plans to invest in and transform Port Talbot” and with “supporting our workers through this necessary but difficult transition”.

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