Staff at Welsh semiconductor plant Newport Wafer Fab have accused Grant Shapps of putting 600 jobs at “grave risk” in the run up to Christmas by blocking a Chinese-backed takeover of the factory.
The Business Secretary last week announced that Chinese-owned Nexperia will be forced to unwind its £63m takeover on national security grounds.
Engineers at Nexperia Newport Staff Association have written to Mr Shapps urging him to reconsider the decision, saying: “You must see sense and protect our jobs by allowing Nexperia to keep their Newport factory.
“Otherwise, it will be crystal clear that you and this Government place little value on our livelihoods and the happiness and security of our families.”
Mr Shapps told MPs on Monday that the final decision was made “fairly”, but refused to provide further details on the substance of the national security concerns.
Dutch chipmaker Nexperia agreed to buy the struggling Welsh factory, which was on the brink of collapse, in 2021. However, in May this year the deal was called in under national security laws.
Nexperia is controlled by China’s Wingtech, which in turn is partly owned by Chinese state-backed funds.
In a long-delayed final ruling, Mr Shapps said the takeover had the potential to “undermine UK capabilities” in advanced semiconductor manufacturing and risked future projects “relevant to national security”.
The Chinese-owned company has been ordered to sell 86pc of its stake in Newport Wafer Fab. Nexperia has said it will appeal.
The decision is a key test of Britain’s new National Security and Investment Act, which gives ministers greater powers over the sale of potentially strategic technology companies.