British steel plants must be sold within weeks, says Tata

British steel plants must be sold within weeks, says Tata

The Port Talbot steelworks faces a race against time to secure its survival and save thousands of jobs, with Tata Steel looking to resolve the future of its UK business within weeks as it emerged that billions of pounds are needed to make it viable.

About 15,000 jobs are at risk in Tata Steel’s UK business and a further 25,000 in the supply chain after the Indian company revealed plans to pull out of the country. Sajid Javid, the business secretary, is on his way home from Australia to tackle the crisis, and David Cameron is also returning from a holiday in Lanzarote.

A senior source close to Tata said there were weeks rather than months to agree a rescue deal, with Port Talbot and the wider UK business losing significantly more than £1m every day. 

The financial problems facing Port Talbot are so significant that Tata is ready to “give it away for nothing”, the source said.

However, they warned that Tata had been trying to find a buyer for the UK steel division for 18 months and there were no candidates willing to press ahead with a deal, with billions of pounds needed to get the business back on track.

“They have spent nearly £4bn in the last eight years,” the source said. “It would need another £4bn.”


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