Labour urges ministers to intervene and save Liberty Steel before 'insolvency'


Ministers should step in and rescue Liberty Steel before the firm plunges into insolvency, Labour urged today.

About 3,300 supply chain jobs are under threat on top of 3,000 Liberty posts at 11 plants across Britain.

The company’s future was thrown into jeopardy by the collapse of its main lender, Greensill Capital.

Labour warned the Government not to wait until Liberty goes bust before intervening.



Liberty Steel has plants across Britain

Acting before it collapses would save workers’ jobs and their terms and conditions, as well as giving “customers and suppliers confidence that orders will be fulfilled, bills paid, and domestic steelmaking capacity will be safeguarded”, it said.

It added: “If ministers wait for insolvency to happen before stepping in, as it did in the case of British Steel, while it may protect what is left of Liberty Steel at that point, it is the supply chain that will pay the price in unpaid invoices and contracts.”

Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell said: “Liberty Steel plants support thousands of steel and supply jobs in towns across the country, and are of vital strategic importance for our economic prosperity and national security.



Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell

“Ministers are not spectators, they must intervene early to save these plants, or we’ll see businesses in places like Hartlepool, Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Newport go bust as invoices go unpaid.

“Steel communities have helped to build Britain – the Conservatives must now back British steel to secure its future, with real action after 10 years of neglect.”

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Liberty is in turmoil as parent firm the Gupta Family Group (GFG) Alliance battles to secure alternative funding after Greensill folded, which triggered a Westminster lobbying row.



Liberty Steel and Gupta Family Group Alliance boss Sanjeev Gupta

The Business Department rejected Liberty’s pleas for a £170million Government bailout last month – saying the cash could have been sent offshore rather than pumped into UK mills.

Labour MP for Newport East, Jessica Morden, who chairs Parliament’s cross-party group on steel, said: “I fully support Labour’s call for the Government to act now and do everything it can to protect our steel jobs.

“Our steel industry and its skilled workforce will be so important as we seek to build back from the pandemic, and should be at the heart of a comprehensive, forward-looking industrial strategy.”



Labour MP Jessica Morden, who co-chairs Parliament’s cross-party group on steel

The Community steelworkers’ union backed Liberty boss Sanjeev Gupta’s attempts to fund cash to keep the business going.

Operations director Alasdair McDiarmid said: “All options should be on the table but the immediate focus must be keeping Liberty Steel out of insolvency, because that’s the least disruptive outcome for employees and supply chain companies.

“Government must be ready to step in should that become necessary, but the unions support the ongoing efforts to refinance the organisation.



Community union operations director Alasdair McDiarmid



Daily Mirror Save Our Steel Campaign
The Mirror has been campaigning to Save Our Steel since 2015

“Our representatives and local management are working tirelessly to find a way through this challenging period, and the future of our world-leading workforce must not become a political football.

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“All stakeholders must act responsibly and avoid creating panic, because the only priority is protecting the jobs and industrial sites.”

The Mirror has been campaigning to Save Our Steel since 2015 when the sector was hammered by plant closures and thousands of job losses.





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