North Lincolnshire Council Leader, Cllr Rob Waltham, met Government ministers, the British Steel management team, unions and representatives from the Official Receiver yesterday (23 May 2019) to secure a future for the steelworks in Scunthorpe.
The group discussed the potential future of British Steel, which was forced into liquidation this week, with Secretary of State for Business, Greg Clark, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Andrew Stephenson. They confirmed that the Government has underwritten all costs associated with running the business, securing the wages of staff on the site and payments to current trading suppliers so a buyer is sought.
Ernest Young (EY) has been appointed by the Government’s Official Receiver to sell the business and some potential buyers have already come forward.
Cllr Rob Waltham, the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Although this is a worrying time for steelworkers, their families, those in supplier industries and residents across North Lincolnshire, I am confident that the Government are doing all they can to support the steelworks in Scunthorpe.
“It is important to stress that the business at British Steel is trading and jobs are protected following the Government’s financial commitment. Every effort needs to be made to ensure that the businesses are kept together and we have to be hopeful that a buyer can be secured for the whole site.”
The £120m Government loan secured by British Steel earlier this month to offset against carbon emissions credits remains within the business and would be available to the future owner of the steelworks.
Cllr Waltham continued: “Scunthorpe has hundreds of years of steelmaking history and we make some of the highest quality steel in the world right here at our works.
“Leading up to the sale of the steelworks, I will represent the council as part of a consultative group and do all I can to secure a bright future for Scunthorpe’s steelworks and for its workers. These are challenging times and we will need to be agile to succeed.
“We’re in the early stages of this process and I hope to have more details on this in the coming days. We have to be positive that together, with the extensive support from the Government and the passionate workers at British Steel, we can keep steelmaking in North Lincolnshire.”