AN MP has warned Rotherham is being forgotten, despite being hit hard by the national steel crisis. And he has called on the government to immediately announce at least £7m to support South Yorkshire steel workers.
Tata Steel announced in July that they planned to shed 720 jobs in speciality steels, including 550 in Rotherham.
John Healey, MP for Wentworth & Dearne, which includes the Aldwarke plant, has called on the government to give extensive support to Rotherham as confirmation of job losses is expected.
Tata’s European CEO has confirmed to the MP that Tata will reject other options – so the July plan and job cuts will go ahead.
Mr Healey has also demanded the Chancellor announce action to help the steel industry in next week’s Autumn Statement.
He will repeat these demands on Saturday (21 November) when speaking at a big steel rally in Sheffield alongside national union leaders.
He said: “Rotherham has become the forgotten town of the steel crisis. We’re being hit just as badly as other parts of the country, we’re facing hundreds of job losses, but the government is not giving us any of the support pledged to other steel towns.
“It’s a month after the steel summit, when the industry minister came to Rotherham and pledged to help – but there is still no money on the table. They’re all talk and no action. We’re the town the Tories ignore.
“The Chancellor must put an end to this next week (November 25) in his Autumn Statement and announce the emergency action that industry, unions and MPs across the UK have been united in urging on ministers.”
Tata is expected to confirm the final number of job losses in South Yorkshire soon. After redundancies were announced in the summer, independent experts Syndex were commissioned to review the business case and look at alternatives. But in a letter to Mr Healey, Tata’s European CEO Karl Kohler confirmed the company will reject Syndex’s proposals which would have seen fewer redundancies.
Mr Healey wrote to the Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid, on 30 October, calling on Rotherham to be given similar support to Scunthorpe, where a £9m package of support from the government and Tata was put in place to support steel workers and the local economy.
The MP has not received a reply, and has written again.
He said: “There is no doubt the situation in Rotherham is severe and justifies the same approach as that in place in Scunthorpe. Based on the number of expected redundancies, we need the government to immediately announce a support package worth at least £7m.”
Mr Healey will call for this government action and support at the ‘Save Our Steel’ rally in Sheffield on Saturday 21 November. He will speak alongside trade union general secretaries and steel workers from around the country.