Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to "stand up to big powers" to prevent more jobs from being lost in Britain.
"We need a government with an industrial strategy that is A: prepared to intervene; B: prepared to stand up to big powers, and C: be prepared to use and argue with European regulations," said the opposition leader during a visit on 29 September to the Tata Steel in Scunthorpe, where hundreds of jobs may be lost as part of the restructure plan.
"What we have is a government that pretends it's nothing to do with them, and so the Italian government intervenes, gives state aid support to its industries so they can survive, and they retained the steel industry. In Britain we seem to be standing idly by, watching job loss after job loss, plant after plant close, and the government doing nothing about it and saying it's because of European regulations. It's not, it's because the government isn't prepared to take the measures necessary," said Corbyn.
The steel crisis escalated further in October as Tata Steel blamed its decision to cut British jobs on a flood of cheap imports, particularly from China. This month alone, more than 4,000 UK steel jobs have been lost or are now at risk, with the country's steelmakers and unions pinning much of the blame on China.
"So today we've come here to Scunthorpe, 900 jobs on the line here. This is a plant that produces very, very high quality steel that's been used to make aircraft carriers and bridges, undersea pipelines, very good quality steel. And instead what we have now is a large amount of dump Chinese steel on the world market because of Chinese overproduction. They're selling it at less than the cost of production. How can anybody ever compete with that?" asked Corbyn.
"There needs to be action taken, otherwise communities like this, that's got generations of people that've worked in this industry, an industry that supports much in the local community that is the major employer, will be destroyed," he added.