Plans to close blast furnaces and cut jobs at Port Talbot steelworks 'pretty much' a done deal, Tata boss says

Plans to close blast furnaces at Port Talbot steelworks and cut up to 2,800 jobs are "pretty much" a done deal, MPs have been told.

TV Narendran, global chief executive and managing director of Tata Steel, made the comments as he vowed that the transition to using an electric arc furnace instead "need not be the end" of the site.

Sky News revealed in September that the company was on the brink of an agreement over the Port Talbot plant which would pave the way for thousands of redundancies.

The plans were officially confirmed earlier this month.

Mr Narendran told MPs on the Welsh Affairs Committee: "It's the beginning of a new way of steelmaking which is competitive and greener."

He also said he would "like to see the details" of additional funding proposed by the Labour Party if it were to win the next general election.

The majority of the jobs under threat are at Port Talbot, the UK's largest steelworks, in the South Wales town. The plant's workforce currently accounts for 12% of its entire population.

Asked if its plan were a "done deal", Mr Narendran replied: "Given our financial situation and the quality of assets, we are pretty much there."

He added: "We need to work with the unions to see how best to deal with this transition, I'm not underestimating that.

"But I think that the sooner we move towards a future like this I think the better."

Nearly three-quarters of the 4,000 staff on site could be out of work under the proposals. Statutory consultation on the job losses is yet to take place.

Tata received £500m of taxpayer funding to support the move, which it says will cut the UK's overall CO2 output by about 1.5% and reduce costs.

But unions have called for Tata and the UK government to reconsider - while warning of a "major industrial dispute".

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Mr Narendran said Tata's management "fully appreciate what all of us have gone through".

"I think everyone has tried, it's not for want of trying," he said.

"But this is a global business. There are global issues which impact us, so for us, it's about how do we preserve steelmaking in Port Talbot. That has been a common ask of everyone."

Mr Narendran added: "Maybe the outcome is not what all of us wanted, but at least we are preserving steelmaking in Port Talbot.

"I feel that is something which has been worth the effort but, yes, transition is not easy."

A UK government spokesperson said it had invested a "record level of support," which showed how much it valued the steel industry in Wales.