A letter a day to number 10. No 1,390
Saturday 02 April 2016.
Dear Mr Cameron,
The problem with April 1st is that you have to be careful what you read, or more correctly, what you believe.
Yesterday Business Secretary Sajid Javid was reportedly visiting Port Talbot for talks at the steel works. That really did beggar belief, but given the numbers of workers waiting to welcome him I decided this was not a prank and that he really did have the front to face an industry that he’d sold down the river.
Six weeks ago Javid told MPs, “The responsibility of government is to look at the overall impact on British industry and jobs. If duties get disproportionate it would have an impact in Britain and elsewhere on consumers of steel. Those businesses tell us it will cost jobs and exports if duties got out of control. To go further might in the short term look the right way to go to protect industry but you have to remember in Britain there are also companies that consume steel as part of the production process.”
In other words, to hell with import tariffs, let the cheap steel roll and to hell with the UK steel industry.
If tariffs were agreed then manufacturers of steel and companies that consume steel would all be operating on a level laying field and the world would not be drowning in China’s largely state owned steel production. State owned means nationalised, by the way.
There is also the matter of price wars for end products, British high quality steel at quality prices down the line against Chinese low quality steel at junk prices down the line. The race to the bottom on prices serves no one other than those who seek profits at any price leaving a trail of losers behind them. Steel workers at Port Talbot are paying the price for greed.
Darling Thatcherite that he is, Javid prefers the sink or swim approach for an industry that is vital to the UK’s national security and your government has been front and centre in opposing tariffs. It’s called laissez-faire economics, but what that does not take into account are polices which tie a rock round the legs of those you doom to fail, as you’ve done with disabled people. What you do best is betray ordinary people on a market principle of naked greed.