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Labour calls on government to intervene before Liberty Steel becomes insolvent

LABOUR called on Boris Johnson to save Liberty Steel today, in order to protect 3,300 jobs in the steel supply chain across the country.

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell warned last night that businesses across the north of England, the Midlands, Wales and Scotland would suffer if the company, owned by GFG Alliance, a conglomerate headed by steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, collapsed.

Its reliance on cash from Greensill, the supply chain finance provider which collapsed last month, has put thousands of jobs at risk.

Labour said that the PM should learn the lessons from British Steel and step in now to “protect what is left” of the company.

British Steel went bust in 2019 after the government refused it a £30 million loan.

This cost supply chain businesses an estimated £500 million, with many going out of business, Labour said.

The party also urged ministers to publish a comprehensive plan for domestic steel production which should include stronger “buy British” guarantees on infrastructure procurement practices and a detailed strategy on how to transition to “green” steel.

Ms 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.

“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.”

Last week, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that he wanted to see whether Mr Gupta could refinance the company himself before deciding on the government’s response.

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