While new ownership is sought for British Steel, the overwhelming priority of everyone is to keep its plants open and people in work, and that was my message in Parliament this afternoon. When it comes to the future, whatever form of ownership is required to deliver sustainability, including public-private partnership, must be on the table.
The Secretary of State, Greg Clark, was clear this he wants this to be a question of new ownership and not a threat to the future of the plants at Skinningrove, Lackenby and Scunthorpe.
There are some important pieces of further news to share at this point in the day:
1) The Official Receiver has a full indemnity so that all of British Steel can be kept open and run as normal, with wages being paid, as a buyer is sought. The fact the business has gone into insolvency can suggest this is the end of the line: that is absolutely not the case and the focus is on sale as a going concern.
2) I met with Greg and with the Minister responsible for Steel, Andrew Stephenson, for more detailed talks this afternoon, and was able to invite them to Friday's summit with Ben Houchen, our Tees Valley Mayor and local political leaders.
3) Gareth Stace, the Head of the trade body UK Steel, has said he is confident the Government has done "everything it can" at this stage and he is "supportive of what Government will try to do with the Official Receiver." I have also attached a letter regarding the legal advice the government has received in relation to providing the company with financial support, which also outlines support which has been provided by government in recent weeks.
|British Steel Financial Support Letter||141.02 KB|