POLITICS

Business Secretary Sajid Javid Criticised For 'Partying' As Steel Industry Collapses

Labour MP: "I doubt steel workers will be very impressed."

06/04/2016 11:56 | Updated 06 April 2016
Rajanish Kakade/AP
Business Secretary Sajid Javid returns after a meeting with Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry at the Bombay House, the Tata group's headquarters, in Mumbai,

Steel workers have been “let down” by Business Secretary Sajid Javid after it was revealed the minister attended a series of glamorous events as the industry was crumbling.

A trade union criticised his “expenses paid jaunts” to film premieres, theatres and major sporting events between August and December last year, which have been recorded on the Cabinet Office website.

And Labour hit out at the minister dining at the luxury Taj Falknuma Palace hotel in Hyderabad, India, which is owned by the Tata Group – which last week revealed it was putting its UK steel business up for sale.

The minister is already under fire for being in Australia last week when Tata was making its decision to offload steelworks in Port Talbot, Rotherham, Corby and Shotton.

Javid has now travelled to Mumbai for a meeting with Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry

The hospitality he enjoyed in recent months includes:

1. A trip to the Royal Shakespeare company on August 28, the day after Tata Steel said it was mothballing part of its plant in Newport with the loss of 250 jobs.

2. Joining the premiere of the film Suffragette on October 7, brushing shoulders with Hollywood stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter and Meryl Streep.

On the same day, 240 workers were sent home from SSI’s Redcar site and administrators gave days to find a buyer.

Ian West/PA Wire
The Suffragette premiere

3. The European premiere of the film Steve Jobs on October 18 - two days after Tata revealed jobs losses in Sheffield and Rotherham, and and on the day that the director of UK Steel called for “life-saving” action “within days”.

Steel firm Caparo went into administration the next day.

Ian West/PA Wire
Michael Fassbender meets fans at the premiere of Steve Jobs

4. The day after 720 workers in Sheffield and Rotherham were handed their notice, on December 5, the minister took a group of people to Capital FM’s Jingle Bell Ball at the O2.

Acts playing included Coldplay, Tinie Tempah and Little Mix. Days later, both Javid went to the Rugby World Cup Final on free match day hospitality packages from sponsors.

5. On December 10, dinner at the Taj Falknuma Palace.

On a visit to Mumbai, Javid failed to mention steel when he spoke at a Tata-hosted event, encouraging more people to apply for UK visas.

Doug Peters/Doug Peters
Ellie Goulding performs on stage during the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball

Labour MP Louise Haigh, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister and Sheffield MP, said: "I doubt steel workers who faced redundancy while the Business Secretary and his advisers were partying on will be very impressed."

Tim Roache, general secretary of steel union GMB, added: “You couldn't make it up. It beggars belief that he visited Tata in India and apparently failed to mention British workers. Steel workers have been let down and let down badly.”

A Department for Business spokesman said: “Gifts and hospitality are a matter of public record. The Business Secretary has been clear the Government will continue to do everything it can to ensure we have a long-term, viable plan for British steel.”

Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive
Louise Haigh, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley

Tim Roache, general secretary of steel union GMB, added: “You couldn't make it up. It beggars belief that he visited Tata in India and apparently failed to mention British workers. Steel workers have been let down and let down badly.”

A Department for Business spokesman said: “Gifts and hospitality are a matter of public record. The Business Secretary has been clear the Government will continue to do everything it can to ensure we have a long-term, viable plan for British steel.”

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