A Government minister has said Corby’s Tata site has a future and she is determined that it will be long-term and sustainable.
Anna Soubry MP, the minister of state for small business, industry and enterprise, visited the Tata site in Weldon Road yesterday.
She met workers as well as the local management team and union officials to talk about the site’s future after last week’s news that Tata plans to sell its UK assets.
The minister was given a tour of the mill and spoke to workers during her visit, who she said were understandably very worried about their jobs but remained ‘very positive.’
She said: “For Corby it is critical.
“There are over 500 people who rely on this place.”
The minister’s visit came on the same day that business secretary Sajid Javid was in Mumbai for a meeting with Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry for an update on the sale process of Tata Steel’s UK operations.
She said Tata had talked to her about some of its plans and their investment plans sounded very interesting.
She praised the staff at the Corby site, saying it was an ‘excellent steelworks,’ and added: “These guys know what they are doing.
“One of the things we are really keen to do is we have to make sure that the customers and suppliers know that this place has a future.
“Everybody has to have confidence in it.
“All the suppliers and all the customers need to keep the orders coming in.”
She has said that if there are any examples where orders could be at risk due to the uncertainty over the industry’s future, she will step in and speak to them.
She said: “This place has a future, our job is to try and make sure we secure it.”
Speaking after the minister’s visit, a spokesman for Tata Steel said: “We were delighted to host Anna Soubry at the Corby tubes site.
“She held a private meeting with the local management team and learnt about the business and heard of the hopes for its future.”
Leader of Corby Council Tom Beattie met the minister and said: “We have been round the mill looking at the very impressive operation here in Corby.”
He said they will do whatever they can to protect the town’s steel industry, and added: “I am very pleased that the minister has visited, it shows the urgency of the situation.”
MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove also attended the visit and said it was crucial that politics were put aside to get the best possible outcome for Corby.
He said: “These are really uncertain times at the moment, but the product that is produced here is absolutely terrific and it is a world-leading product.”
He added: “We have got nearly 600 families in this town who are very worried about the direction this is heading so it is so important that all the options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out.”
He said there is so much at stake and added: “I want steel to be made in this town for many years to come.
“I believe very much that the steel industry in this town could have a really positive future, but they need the time to implement the plan that will help to save the future of this site.
“I will fight tooth and nail to do this.”
Margot Parker, who is UKIP’s small business spokesman, said: “I wonder what Anna Soubry and her Government has in store for Corby workers and all the others threatened across the country? Actions speak louder than words.”
ROger Helmer, UKIP’s energy spokesman, said: “It is sickening to see Anna Soubry insisting that “the Government is doing all it can”, when she knows it can do practically nothing.
“Even more sickening to hear her arguing for Britain to remain in the EU, when she knows (or ought to know) that EU membership is closing down energy-intensive businesses across Europe.”