No Guar­an­tee Over Fu­ture of UK Steel In­dus­try, says Cameron

UK govern­ment will do all it can to se­cure a buyer for Tata Steel’s busi­nesses in Bri­tain: PM

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

Lon­don: Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron said on Wed­nes­day there was no guar­an­tee that ef­forts to save the Bri­tish steel in­dus­try would be suc­cess­ful, try­ing to man­age ex­pec­ta­tions that the govern­ment can save thou­sands of jobs. Cameron has said his govern­ment will do all it can to se­cure a buyer for Tata Steel’s busi­nesses in Bri­tain, keen to make sure the In­dian com­pany’s sale of its plants does not leave thou­sands un­em­ployed just be­fore June’s ref­er­en­dum on EU mem­ber­ship. But speak­ing in Par­lia­ment, he un- der­lined the pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion of the in­dus­try, which has been hurt by cheap Chi­nese im­ports, soar­ing costs and weak de­mand. “There is no guar­an­tee of suc­cess,” Cameron said.

“While I want to do ev­ery­thing we can to se­cure the fu­ture ... we’re cop­ing with a mas­sive over­sup­ply, a col­lapse in prices.” Asked whether the govern­ment was pre­par­ing the ground for bad news over the pos­si­ble sale of the plants, Cameron’s spokesman said the prime min­is­ter was try­ing to be re­al­is­tic.

“We’re try­ing to be re­al­is­tic with peo­ple that this is a dif­fi­cult process ... but we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing we can,” the spokesman told re­porters. On Tues­day, Cameron vis­ited a Tata steel works in the Welsh town of Port Tal­bot and told the man­age­ment that any sale of its re­main­ing Bri­tish as­sets would have to cover the whole of its busi­ness and be given suf­fi­cient time to take place.

The govern­ment has said it is will­ing to take a 25% eq­uity stake in any res­cue of Tata Steel’s op­er­a­tions and that at least two po­ten­tial buy­ers have shown in­ter­est.

It has also of­fered help in low­er­ing the cost of en­ergy for steel works and with work­ers’ pen­sions to try to save the in­dus­try but says its ef­forts are not linked to the EU ref­er­en­dum on June 23.

Those cam­paign­ing to leave the bloc have seized on the cri­sis, ac­cus­ing the EU of not do­ing enough to stop Chi­nese im­ports and have blamed the bloc’s rules on state aid for pre­vent­ing govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion.

AP PHOTO UK Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron

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