Alex Salmond: Sajid Javid is like a rabbit caught in headlights over steel

Posted On: 
3rd April 2016

SNP former leader Alex Salmond told Sky News' Murnaghan Sajid Javid resembled a "rabbit caught in the headlights" over the UK steel crisis.

"What a contrast there is between the actions of the Scottish government who, as you know, bought the assets at Clydebridge and Dalzell off Tata and sold them on to Liberty house. That industry has now at least the chance of a new future using what is called green steel – recycled products to pursue a position within the industry. But that is affirmative government action – being prepared to say the government has the ability to secure the assets and then to sell them on to a company which is prepared to make a go of things.

"Now what a contrast there is between that affirmative action by the Scottish government and the UK government. Sajid Javid looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights, as if he never thought this might happen in terms of the struggling and scrambling to come up with a response. The response has to be you have got to find a way to secure the competitive position of the UK steel industry, of the steel industry in Wales, through energy costs, you have got to do something about the overhang of the pension fund... and lastly we have got to act together with our European partners in addressing the issue of dumping and undermining of price levels though the Chinese products."

He said the nature of the relationship between the British government and China was problematic for the UK steel industry. 

"The steel industry of course has been hoisted by a great extent on George Osborne's petard. He has been pursuing a relationship with China – that is a good thing, incidentally – but instead of pursuing an industrial partnership, and industrial relationship, George Osborne's idea is that the Chinese institutions will park themselves in the city of London; the Chinese will finance the Hinkley Point power stations at some enormous cost to the British taxpayers. Therefore of course when it came to taking action against Chinese industrial products, as they are part of that dirty deal, the UK government were trying to stop action on an EU level. Because its not their relationship with China that the Government has got wrong – it's the nature of the relationship."