Uncertainty continues to surround the UK steel manufacturing industry following a review by Tata of its European Portfolio. In late March it was announced that due to the demand for steel being on the decline across the globe, the current excess of steel supplies and excessive manufacturing costs, the future of Tata steel plant in Port Talbot is now in doubt.
A plan for Strip Products UK, which aimed to transform and restructure the business, was also deemed as unviable during the review, and it was decided that the Tata steel board would not be able to fund the plan.
Heavy Losses and Proposed Sale
It has been reported that the Port Talbot plant is losing £1 million and a day, however, these figures have not been confirmed and there is a question mark over the precise amount of the losses.
There have been calls for the government to take ownership of the plant, but this is a plan that has been rejected by the Prime Minister and the only hope to save thousands of jobs is to sell the Tata steel plant.
Sajid Javid Criticism
Business Secretary Sajid Javid faced criticism for being on holiday at the time the news was announced, however, Mr David has said in a statement on his website that it was his efforts that convinced Tata to put the plant up for sale rather than close it down. The Business Secretary also defended his party’s efforts to support the manufacturing industry in the UK, specifically the steel industry.
However, Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP for Aberavon has described the Tory party’s response to the steel industry’s predicament as “a mixture of incompetence and indifference” and he has started the #saveoursteel campaign.
The CBI has issued a statement regarding the current steel manufacturing crisis. The CBI Deputy Director-General for policy and campaigns, Josh Hardie, said:
“It’s clear that firms in our steel industry face major global challenges to stay competitive.
“Our industrial base can best be supported by developing a long-term industrial strategy, protecting research and development investment to help raise productivity and ensuring energy costs remain competitive.
“The Welsh and UK governments must work together, alongside businesses, to maintain and increase investment in Wales.”
Liberty House and steel group with offices around the globe are reported to be interested in purchasing the plant, however, there are some concerns that government funding would need to be made available if the sale is to go ahead.
It came shortly after the company has announced a deal to sell its plants in Scotland. The Clydebridge and Dalzell steel plants are to be sold to the Scottish government and they would then be sold on to liberty House.