Reacting to today’s announcement from Tata Steel that the company plans to cut 720 jobs in Specialty Steels, most on the Rotherham site, local MP John Healey said:

“This is the worst possible news. It’s simply devastating for the workers and their families, many of whom waived pay, holidays and other entitlements to help keep Tata going through the global economic crisis from 2008. They kept faith in Tata and now feel massively let down.

“This is a dedicated workforce and a modern plant, making some of the best steel in the world. I want to see independent industry experts assess this plan and make sure every other option has been fully considered. I fear cuts to steel-making on this scale would leave our Rotherham site with no long-term future.

“I’ve talked to union leaders and local Tata managers about this, and I have asked for an urgent meeting with Dr Karl Kohler, Tata’s MD in Europe.

“I’ve also asked for an urgent meeting with business ministers because the government should be doing more to support UK steel as a vital strategic industry. We won government agreement to financial help for energy intensive manufacturers in the last parliament but Ministers have still not set up this scheme. And there’s much more Ministers can do through government procurement contracts, support for skills and backing for research.

“Cutting jobs on this scale will be devastating to the town. Rotherham is proudly part of Britain’s manufacturing base. When Maltby pit closed last year Rotherham became an ex-mining town and I’ll fight to stop us also becoming an ex-steel town.”