Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn raised job losses in Rotherham when he accused the Government of having no ‘industrial strategy’ as redundancies mount in the crisis-stricken steel sector.
He made the accusation during Prime Minister’s Questions, asking David Cameron: “Do you appreciate the devastating effects of the Government’s non-intervention in the steel industry is having on so many people?”
But the Prime Minister insisted his administration was doing everything it could to help, including changing procurement rules which already meant more public sector projects used British steel.
Mr Corbyn said: “What are you going to do to support the steel industry and its workers who are now facing redundancy?
“Is it not time to walk the walk rather than talk the talk about the industrial strategy?
“Isn’t the real problem the Government doesn’t actually have an industrial strategy to protect the most important industries in this country?
“If they had, they wouldn’t have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this House three times in the last eight days.
“Thousands of jobs have already gone in Redcar, Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Motherwell, Cambuslang, Wrexham, and across the West Midlands.”
He challenged: “Isn’t it time for concrete action today so there is Government intervention, there is support for our industry and we do have a viable steel industry for the long term, which this country desperately needs to have?”
Mr Cameron insisted: “We do want to help our steel industry and I will set out exactly how we will help the steel industry.
“It is in a very difficult situation, world prices have collapsed by more than half, the surplus capacity in the world is more than 50 times the UK output.
“But our plan to is to take action in four vital areas - procurement, energy costs, unfair competition and dumping, and tax and Government support.”
He added: “Let me just remind members opposite. They might like to remember something of their own record. Under Labour steel production halved. Under Labour employment in steel halved, since I’ve been Prime Minister steel production has gone up and steel employment has stayed at the same level, so before we get a self-righteous lecture from the party opposite, look at your own record.”
Earlier this year, Steel producer TATA said over 700 UK jobs would be axed, including around 500 in South Yorkshire - the majority in Rotherham.