19/10/2015 14:37 BST | Updated 19/10/2015 14:59 BST

Caparo: Almost 1,800 Jobs To Go As PM Pledges To Raise Dumping Practices With Chinese Leader

PA/PA Wire
Prime Minister David Cameron makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons following last week European Council meeting.

Britain's steel industry has today been plunged into fresh chaos, after manufacturing firm Caparo announced job losses totalling almost 1,800.

After Monday's hit, which comes in the wake of 2,000 workers being axed in a Redcar steel plant and 1,200 expected to go from company Tata, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to intervene.

The Conservative leader vowed to raise the issue of "anti-competitive steel dumping" with China's president, Xi Jinping, ahead of the premier's visit later this week.

Trade union leaders warn that one in six steelworkers now face the prospect of losing their jobs because the Government is reluctant to step in and save firms folding across the UK.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Cameron said no talking-points were off the table with President Xi Jinping during his four-day visit.

He told Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: "Of course, we're doing everything we can in Europe to help our steel industry.

"Will we raise it with the Chinese? Of course, we'll raise all these issues. That is what our relationship with China is all about.

"It is at such a high level that there is no subject off the table and all of these issues, including the steel industry, of course will be discussed."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has previously claimed he was moved to u-turn on Labour's support for the Fiscal Responsibility Charter after meeting grieving families of the axed Redcar employees.

Speaking today, his colleague Angela Eagle, the shadow business secretary, rebuffed pressure on the Government to intervene over recent hits crippling the steel industry, including by the Caparo announcement.

"This is a further blow to the steel industry which is now on its knees, and my thoughts are with the employees of Caparo who are facing uncertainty over their future," she said.

"The industry needs urgent action from the Government. However, this Government seems content to let the industry fail.

"Rather than setting up more talking shops, the Government should be taking action to tackle higher energy prices, they should be providing export and procurement support and be looking at what temporary measures could help the industry, including looking again at business rates."