LLANELLI’S Assembly Member, Lee Waters, and MP, Nia Griffith, have welcomed the publication of an agreement to continue the Welsh Government’s support for the Welsh and UK steel industry.

This week’s agreement aims to encourage the widest use of Welsh and UK steel in public sector contracts. It will do this by providing opportunities for local steel suppliers to engage in public contracts either directly or through the supply chain.

This agreement follows a recommendation by the Tata Steel Task Force in 2016 that the public sector should purchase its works, goods or services directly from Welsh steelworks in order to support the local steel industry. These projects can include transport projects such as rail and road-building, the building and refurbishment of prisons, hospitals, universities, houses and bridges and major infrastructure projects such as flood defences.

Lee Waters, a member of the Assembly’s Economy committee said: “A key driver for the local economic strategy that I’m working on is to support local industries that are grounded in our area to grow. So it’s great that we are showing a commitment, as part of a wider support package, to support steel-making in Wales by providing opportunities for local suppliers, like Trostre Steelworks, to bid for public contracts.”

Nia Griffith said: “I’m pleased to see the Welsh Labour Government once again leading the way in supporting UK steel. The steel industry is critical to our local economy, providing highly-skilled and well-paid jobs for thousands of people in the Llanelli constituency and across Wales. I welcome this week’s agreement, which I hope will encourage public sector bodies to utilise steel sourced from Wales in their infrastructure and construction projects.

Back in 2015, as secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Steel Group, I wrote to councils up and down the country to encourage them to follow the Welsh Government’s example in buying British steel and to insist on the quality mark BES6001 to ensure the steel rebar being used is safe, sustainable and responsibly sourced – guarantees often lacking from untraceable cheap imports.

Buying Welsh steel is vital not only to support the steel industry here in Wales, but also to boost the wider local economy and the education, research and development opportunities it helps to sustain.”

The procurement advice note ‘Supporting the sourcing of steel in construction and infrastructure projects in Wales’ is available via the following link:

http://prp.gov.wales/docs/prp/toolkit/PANSteelprocurementsupportingthesourcingofsteelinconstructionandinfrastructureprojectsFINAL(ENGLISH)pdf.pdf

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