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Alyn and Deeside

Save our Industry – Steelworks at Risk

save our steelworks

I sometimes say that our pathways and struggles through our lives lead us to the place we are today and following the news on the future of steel manufacturing in Wales I’ve been thinking about the number of individuals involved and then the multiplier effect for their families, friends, communities, and local small businesses that this will impact beyond the initial figures stated.

Has this government learned nothing from its disastrous decisions in the past and how their short-term thinking can have detrimental long-term effects on an area?

I was lucky a few years ago to stand up for the old John Summers Building the original (British Steel Head office) in Deeside, and be the catalyst to its restoration, which had been left to fall to rack and ruin over 4 decades and be placed on one of the Victorian societies most significant buildings at risk, by both Local and UK government, and also commercial organisations.

I am glad to say this building is well on its way to being fully restored and alongside this journey with the community and their invaluable involvement, we have built skills, and confidence, whilst restoring HOPE alongside bringing critical infrastructure and structural works to the building and through key partnership working with local industry brought electricity back to the building and site.

But one of the most memorable things I learned was the times spent with those affected and learning about those devastating times and capturing them through oral History straight from the horse’s mouth.

But in 1976, after plans were submitted by the Labour Government to close Shotton Steelworks, the huge resistance by the community was ignored and the new Conservative Government of the time reviewed British Steel’s plan and sold off Deeside over 40+ years ago in March 1980, it led to the largest ever known redundancy in one day in Western Europe with 6,500 people getting there marching orders, and the scars are still showing 4+ decades along.

Although steelmaking ended in 1980 with mass redundancies the Shotton site continues to process steel products on a smaller scale and workforce to the construction industry under the Tata Name.

In the words of many of the older generations who were affected by these cuts, businesses, leisure activities, cinemas, pubs and shops moved out and charity shops and support agencies moved in.

We are still seeing multi-generational unemployment and mental health issues across families that were left behind due to the enormity of what happened and the lack of support that was offered then and through the years.

Yes, the area has attracted great organisations to the area like Toyota and Airbus, with the investment of Deeside Industrial Park, but in essence that has only gone to drive the skill gap further apart when no investment in skills and reskilling people of all ages is undertaken as the amazing YT offered back in the day.

Young people move away, as feel they have no career prospects locally as years ago they went to steelworks and progressed their careers (boy to man), now they move away to chase prospects, and areas lose that much-needed knowledge base to support growth.

Whilst I’m a bit further afield this time to the major impact which will be at Port Talbot, I fully appreciate my previous work and recognise how these communities and residents will also be affected.

I also fear for the roles locally again in Shotton and know how much Tata is still central to its critical ecosystem and will be asking our Leader Richard Tice (Reform UK) to tackle this at the Government level, as I know how passionate he is about the Steelworks and British manufacturing and know both him and Reform UK will move mountains to fight for British industry.

I also wholeheartedly support the words of James Davies CEO of Industry Wales and TEAM whom I have had the esteemed pleasure of working with in the past, who have gone against protocol to show their dismay at the announcement, and lack of deemed support and long-term strategic thinking from both Local and National Governments.

Please see below their Statement.

Please help us keep this critical industry open before it’s too late and sign the petition.