There are serious question marks over Carwyn Jones’ leadership during and in the build up to the steel crisis, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have said today.
Ahead of the Assembly statement today on the steel crisis, Eluned Parrott AM has today published six key questions that Carwyn Jones must answer:
- Why has it taken the Welsh Government five days to hold an ‘emergency’ cabinet meeting in response to the crisis?
- Why has the Welsh Government refused to listen to the industry by not cutting business rates on all heavy machinery?
- Why has the Welsh Government refused to carry out an audit of Welsh procurement to see if we’re setting purchasing criteria that match Welsh steel’s talents?
- Why has the Welsh Government refused to publish new guidance for public sector bodies to consider Welsh steel for construction projects?
- Why was there no Welsh Government representative in the key meeting in Mumbai?
- How long has the Welsh Government known that Tata intended to shut down its UK steel business?
In October last year, the UK steel employers and trade unions tabled five ‘key asks’ to save the industry, which included ‘fairer business rates’ and ‘support local content in major projects’ – both of which fall under the responsibility of the Welsh Government and neither of which the Government has acted upon.
Eluned Parrott, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy Minister, said:
“There are serious question marks over Carwyn Jones’ leadership during this national crisis.
“Despite the magnitude of this issue, the Labour Government appears caught in the headlights and unable to act decisively.
“It shouldn’t have taken nearly a week for Carwyn Jones to hold his so-called ‘emergency’ cabinet meeting. It’s been reported that the Welsh Government has known since Christmas that Tata intended to shut its UK steel business, yet what has Carwyn Jones done since then in response to this crisis?
“The steel industry has repeatedly asked the Welsh Government to cut business rates, but it has refused to do so. For over 18 months the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for the reduction in business rates for heavy machinery, but Labour has done absolutely nothing.
“Time and time again Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for an audit of Welsh procurement, yet what has the Labour Government done? Nothing.
“Welsh Liberal Democrats repeatedly called on the Labour Government to publish new guidance for public infrastructure projects that use steel. Has it happened? No.
“Let us be clear: the Conservative UK Government has disgracefully let down communities by its inaction and its decision to veto EU measures to stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel. That doesn’t get Labour off the hook. For two whole years Carwyn Jones and his Labour Government have sat back and done nothing to properly support this important industry.”