Wednesday 21 April 2021 / 12:05 AM Lucy Powell

Labour calls on government to intervene before Liberty Steel becomes insolvent to protect more than 3,300 jobs in the supply chain 

Labour calls on government to intervene before Liberty Steel becomes insolvent to protect more than 3,300 jobs in the supply chain 

 

Labour’s Shadow Business Minister, Lucy Powell MP, is today calling on the Government to step in before Liberty Steel becomes insolvent, if necessary, to save more than 3300 jobs in the steel supply chain in businesses across the North, Midlands, Wales and Scotland.

 

The Party argues that the Government should learn the lessons of British Steel going bust. 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.

 

When the Conservatives left British Steel to collapse into administration this cost the company’s supply chain businesses an estimated £500 million with many going bust. It also meant that workers lost their employment rights, which had to be renegotiated, when the business was sold off.

 

Labour is calling on Ministers to intervene early before liquidation to save workers jobs, terms and conditions, and give customers and suppliers confidence that orders will be fulfilled, bills paid, and domestic steelmaking capacity will be safeguarded.

 

Labour’s call for the Government to step in comes on top of their demand for a comprehensive plan for domestic steel production and for the government to keep all options on table for Liberty steel. A plan for steel should include stronger ‘Buy British’ guarantees on UK infrastructure procurement practices, and detailed strategy to transition to green steel, and action to tackle business competitiveness that Ministers have shirked for a decade.

 

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers Lucy Powell MP, 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. This means a proper plan to decarbonise the sector, boost business competitiveness, and ensure UK government infrastructure projects use British steel in their projects.”