The government has been clear it envisages a responsible sale process, and is using all possible ministerial, official and diplomatic levers to help secure the long term future of the steel industry in the UK.
The meeting with Tata in Mumbai follows constructive meetings in London with trade unions, the EEF and UK Steel this week. Earlier today (5 April 2016) the Prime Minister, Business Secretary and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Oliver Letwin, met with Welsh Government First Minister Carwyn Jones to discuss the situation at the Port Talbot plant, which the Business Secretary visited last Friday.
The government has already taken a wide range of action to support the UK steel industry, which has been hit by drastically reduced prices as a result of global overproduction:
- since 2013, government has paid £160m in compensation for climate change energy policy costs to Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs), including £50m to Tata
- announced a move to take this further, from energy compensation to exemption which will cut £400 million from energy bills for the steel sector by 2020.
- introduced new procurement rules to ensure public steel contracts consider UK the wider social and community impacts of steel in all major procurement projects - making British steel more competitive
- voted in favour of EU tariffs on foreign steel where there is evidence of dumping. Imports of Chinese stainless steel flat products have fallen 90% as a result
- convened a new Steel Council, bringing together industry, unions, UK government and ministers from the Devolved Administrations to map the steel sector’s long-term future. This had its first meeting on 2 March 2016 and will meet again shortly
Sajid Javid also met today with Sanjeev Gupta, head of Liberty Group, which recently bought 2 Tata mothballed steel mills in Scotland.