The Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, the British Government's Chancellor of the Exchequer, has visited Tata Steel's Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales, UK.
Mr. Osborne was welcomed by Karl Koehler, CEO of Tata Steel Europe, who made it clear that measures introduced in the recent UK Budget, were a breath of fresh air for the steel company.
"The measures announced in the Budget to introduce relief against the rapidly rising costs of energy taxes, which pose a very real risk to Britain's foundation industries, are extremely welcome," Koehler said, adding that the Government has listened to the concerns of 'foundation industries' by introducing cost limits, in particular the Renewables Obligation.
According to Mr Koehler, the measures announced by the Chancellor are 'a clear and meaningful contribution to forging a more competitive and sustainable future' for Tata's UK steelmaking sites.
He added that the company will work closely with the Government to secure EU approval for the measures quickly so that their impact will be felt as soon as possible.
The Chancellor said: “I want Britain to manufacture things so we build a resilient economy. So, listening to industry, at the Budget I announced a package to cut the cost of manufacturing, with particular support for our energy intensive industries worth £7 billion. I want to ensure our manufacturers are not priced out of international competition. I also want to give assurance to companies like Tata Steel and the 18,000 people working for them that this Government is on the side of the makers. Which is why I'm pleased that Tata Steel has welcomed the support in Budget – which they believe will help secure the competitive future of UK steelmaking.”
Tata's UK facilities employ 18,000 directly – and many more indirectly – and Koehler believes that with European steel demand still below pre-crisis levels, the Chancellor's budget measures will provide a much-needed shot in the arm for British manufacturing.