DEESIDE politicians have been campaigning for the future of Shotton steel this week.

As the plant celebrates its 125th year of production, Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, spoke in a debate at Westminster on the plant's history, and its future.

He raised concerns that the electricity costs of steel plants in the UK are nearly double those of German steelworks, and that the UK Government is still refusing to commit to buying UK steel for its own building projects.

Speaking in the debate, Mr Tami said "This year marks the 125th year of production at Shotton steelworks on Deeside, which is a remarkable achievement. I hope and trust that we will see another 125 years. I doubt I will still be here to celebrate that, but we all live in hope.

"Order books are good and Shotton continues to produce high-quality value-added products, which is a great credit to the workforce and the management of the plant, yet we only have to look at Shotton’s history to understand the highs and lows that the industry faces as a whole."

He added: "The UK steel industry has been in a fragile state for many years, seemingly lurching from one crisis to another. We have a Government who talk about their support for the industry going forward, but their actions—or, rather, lack of action—tell a very different story. Only when a plant or business is on the verge of collapse do they seem to show any interest in the steel industry, and they lose interest again when the plant either is saved in the short term or has collapsed.

"The UK steel industry supplies only about 10 per cent of public sector current requirements. That needs to increase dramatically. The Government need to work with the industry to make that happen."

Jack Sargeant, Senedd Member for Alyn and Deeside, was this week elected as vice chair of the Steel cross-party group in the Senedd, which works to press the steel industry's case at a Welsh Government level.

Mr Sargeant said: "This important industry is vital to moving Wales, and Britain, forward.

"Without steel then the things we need to tackle the climate crisis, from solar panels to wind turbines, can't be built.

"I want to see Welsh steel, and Shotton steel, drive us towards the zero carbon future that we need. In doing so, we can not only protect jobs, but create new ones in industry in Alyn and Deeside. We now need the UK Government backing to make that happen."