‘Every option should remain on the table to save steelworks’

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Redcar Steelworks

Tees MP Tom Blenkinsop has demanded that the Government “does whatever it takes to ensure a future for the steel industry in the UK”.

Tata Steel has announced plans to sell off its entire UK operations – including its sites on Teesside.

Tata employs 1,100 workers on Teesside at sites including Skinningrove Special Profiles, Hartlepool Pipe Mill and the firm’s Lackenby works .

The company has already been involved in talks to sell off a separate division – its Long Products Europe business – to Greybull Capital.

That move would affect around 700 workers on Teesside. Live reaction below.

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Mr Blenkinsop is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Steel and Metal Related Industry.

He said: “Thousands of workers and their families will have started today in limbo. Yesterday was meant to provide clarity over the future of Tata’s sites in the UK – one way or another. This ongoing uncertainty is a disgrace.

“Any assistance must be made available to retain our British steel making capability perfectly reasonable to step in to maintain assets until market settles.

“If the Government are actively looking into some kind of temporary nationalisation then we need details sooner rather than later.

“However, when I and Redcar MP, Anna Turley, called for state intervention at SSI in Redcar, we were given a definite no by the Government. Things have certainly changed.

“Steel making remains a key industry that is hugely important for our economy and the Government urgently needs to realise that.

“The Government needs to do whatever it takes to save this vital strategic industry which is the cornerstone of our manufacturing sector.”

Meanwhile, Business Secretary Sajid Javid says nationalisation is not the answer for the Port Talbot steel works in Wales.

A Labour Party call for Parliament to be recalled early was rejected on Wednesday, but the Prime Minister will chair a meeting of key ministers on Thursday.

Mr Javid is cutting short a trip to Australia – and says he is looking at some kind of government support.

But he said: “I don’t think that nationalisation is going to be the solution.

“Because I think everyone would want a long-term viable solution, and if you look around Europe and elsewhere, I think nationalisation is rarely the answer, particularly if you take into account the big challenges the industry faces.”

Tata’s Port Talbot site employs 5,500 of Tata UK’s current 15,000-strong UK workforce.

 

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