62% of British people support nationalising Port Talbot Steelworks

April 01, 2016, 9:52 AM UTC

A large majority of British people – including Conservative voters – support nationalising the Tata Steel plant in South Wales

Business Secretary Sajid Javid travels to Port Talbot Steelworks today to try to assure workers the government is "on their side" in the crisis over Tata Steel's decision to sell its UK assets, which include the South Wales plant. The plant, which employs 4,100 people is said to be losing £1 million a day after a rise in imports of cheap Chinese steel contributed to losses in the business. Critics have blamed ministers for opposing a European Commission proposal to allow higher tariffs on cheap imported steal, however they say the tariffs would damage other sectors like the car industry.

David Cameron and Sajid Javid have said nationalisation is "not the answer", but new YouGov research reveals fully 62% of British people support nationalising the steel plant in South Wales. Only 17% oppose and 21% are unsure.

Even the majority of Conservative voters support nationalising the steelworks – 56% support and 30% oppose. Nearly as many UKIP voters (71%) support nationalising the plant at Port Talbot as Labour voters (73%), however UKIP also has a greater share of opposition (21%) while only 6% of Labour voters oppose nationalisation.

Majorities of every demographic measured are in favour of nationalising the plant.

Reportedly the government would rather offer loan guarantees to potential buyers and strengthen rules on procurement to force major British projects to buy British steel. Many are blaming George Osborne's increased prioritisation of trade relations with China for the failure of British steel manufacturing, however. One official in Brussels said Britain's veto of an EU trade directorate on tariffs for cheap steel imports amounted to "sacrificing an entire European industry to say thank you to China for signing up to the nuclear power project at Hinkley Point".

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