Government Ready to Help on Port Talbot Deal

UK steelThe Government says it is ready to offer support to secure a buyer to save Port Talbot steelworks where thousands of jobs are at risk.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said he did not think nationalisation was the solution but did not rule it out.  He said any buyer would want to look at “plant, pensions and power supply” – which ministers were “working on.”

It comes amid reports of several potential buyers for the Port Talbot plant, following Tata Steel’s announcement last week that it was selling its loss-making UK businesses.

Tata’s UK business – which directly employs 15,000 workers and supports thousands of others – includes plants in Port Talbot, Rotherham, Corby and Shotton.

Mr Javid said the Government had known “a few weeks ago” that Tata was reviewing its UK operations, including the possible closure of the Port Talbot plant.  But he said, “The strength of the announcement and how far they went – particularly what they said about timing – was much further than we expected.”

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, the Business Secretary said the Government would do “everything we can” to support th, saying it was “vital” for economic and national security.

He said nationalisation was “rarely the answer” – but it “wouldn’t be prudent to rule anything out.”

Mr Javid said the Government’s plan to save the plant – and industry – was to find a commercial buyer for all of Tata’s UK businesses.

He said, “We’re going to also have to offer support to eventually clinch that buyer and to give this steel plant a long-term viable future.”

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