Labour leader Keir Starmer is on course to become Britain's next leader based on current polling. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Sir Keir Starmer says Labour will "turn the steel industry around", during a visit to Port Talbot Steelworks in Wales.

The Labour Party leader added he favoured a "plan that preserves the jobs we've got".

In September, the Government announced a £500 million grant for Port Talbot's steelworks, one of the UK's largest polluters, to keep the plant open and produce steel in a greener way.

Tata Steel also added £700 million of its own towards cutting emissions to fall in line with government targets, despite the possibility of as many as 3,000 job losses across the UK.

Currently, the site is home to two blast furnaces working non-stop to produce steel used in everything from tin cans to cars across the UK.

The company employs about 8,000 people nationwide, 4,000 of those in Port Talbot, but it is also one of the UK's largest polluters.

At the time, Tata warned there would be a "transition period including potential deep restructuring" at the plant.

But now, Starmer has declared that a Labour government would have a better strategy to protect jobs at the steelworks.

"My biggest concern at the moment is that we have a plan that ends what we've got, has an impression of what we might have but hasn't done the hard yards of the bridge between the two," he said.

What is his solution?

Labour Party pledges £3 billion in support from a future Labour government, to ensure that the UK retains its steelmaking industry and becomes a world leader in "green steel" production.

"Our long-term plan for steel will see a 10-year commitment to invest in the new green technologies we need to keep UK steel competitive, ensure jobs stay in the UK and reduce our carbon emissions," a Labour spokesperson explained.

"That's the difference between Labour and the Conservatives, they lurch from crisis to crisis while Labour has a plan for a decade of national renewal," the source added.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledged to deliver a "decade of renewal" in his speech at his Party's conference last week, as he outlined a vision for at least two terms in office.

Furthermore, Starmer has previously declared that delivering clean power by 2030 is one of his five missions for a Labour government which would "turbocharge building of critical infrastructure".

The Labour Party will propose a new, publicly-owned clean energy company, named Great British Energy.

According to their website, they plan to harness Britain's sun, wind and wave energy to save £93 billion for UK households and deliver one hundred per cent clean power by 2030.

However, speaking today, Sir Keir did not deny that once the steelworks transition to green energy, there would be fewer people working there.

Unions previously warned the move to the new less labour-intensive furnaces could lead to thousands of job losses.

With this in mind, the Labour leader is expected to meet representatives of the three main steelworkers' unions – Community, GMB and Unite – during his visit to Port Talbot.

Asked if politicians should be honest and say there will be fewer people needed with green steel, he said: "I think the transition is always difficult because there's always anxiety about protecting the jobs that are already in existence. That is completely understandable."

The UK Labour leader declined to answer whether he would commit to providing HS2 funding to the Welsh government after Rishi Sunak confirmed the long-rumoured decision to scrap the northern leg of HS2 in his party conference speech earlier this month.

Starmer did say a future UK Labour government would work with the Welsh government "on a rules-based basis so that we can coordinate".

Starmer tweet
Starmer documented his meeting with steelworkers earlier today. X formerly Twitter

The centre-left opposition party are enjoying double-digit leads in most opinion polls and is seemingly on the cusp of returning to power after 13 years of Conservative rule.

Last month, the party defeated the SNP to win the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election by a landslide margin.

And following this victory statement, a by-election in Tamworth last week saw a 23.9 per cent swing from Conservative to Labour – the second highest in post-war by-election history.

No government has previously lost so safe a seat – the Conservatives had a 42 per cent majority in 2019 – to the principal opposition party in a by-election contest.

Starmer hailed it as a "phenomenal result that shows Labour is back in the service of working people and redrawing the political map".