Wales politics

Tata sale pause sensible, says Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns

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Media captionWelsh Secretary Alun Cairns said the pause was a positive step

The pause in the sale of Tata's Port Talbot steelworks is "sensible", the Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has said.

The firm is expected announce on Friday that it will hold off on a sale of most of its UK business.

Speaking ahead of a meeting between Tata bosses and the Business Secretary Sajid Javid, Mr Cairns said the urgency of the situation had "passed".

But Aberavon Labour MP Stephen Kinnock said a pause would "pose more questions than answers".

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Image caption Port Talbot is the UK's biggest steel plant, employing 4,000 workers

Mr Cairns told BBC Wales: "The urgency that we had some time ago has passed, somewhat partly because of the ongoing warm relationship that the UK has with the unions, with Tata and the potential investors.

"We've offered to make hundreds of millions of pounds available, we've resolved part of the power issue that Tata had. There's still more to do."

Asked about the Tata pension scheme he said: "We're still looking at pensions, we've had several thousand responses to the consultation we put out and that's fundamental to resolving the long term future."

Mr Cairns said the UK government was still focussed on the steelmaking capacity of the UK and the future of the industry.

Image caption Stephen Kinnock said steelworkers have been 'put through hell'

But there was concern from Port Talbot's MP Mr Kinnock.

He said: "If reports that Tata Steel intend to pause the sale of most of its UK business, including Port Talbot, prove to be correct, then this would clearly pose more questions than it answers."

"Steel workers and their families have been put through hell over the last weeks and months, and they will be forgiven for greeting these reports with a degree of scepticism, and perhaps even an element of anger," Mr Kinnock said.

"We all understand the massive impact of the referendum result, and we appreciate that Tata Steel, like so many other businesses, need time to review and evaluate the implications of Brexit.

"However, it is now absolutely critical that Tata Steel and the UK Government come forward with a specific timetable."

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