Cameron hosts UK steel industry crisis meeting

Prime Minister David Cameron is hosting crisis talks on the UK steel industry, in response to mounting pressure on ministers to ensure the future of the Port Talbot steelworks, following the news that its parent firm Tata Steel plans to sell the plant.

The ministers are set to agree a response to guarantee the future of the 5,500 staff currently employed at Port Talbot steelworks but wants reassurance from Tata Steel that it will not close the plants before a buyer is found.

Statistics show that steel production makes up one per cent of Britain’s manufacturing output and 0.1 of the country’s economic output.

A Labour petition calling for Parliament to be recalled to discuss the situation has obtained more than 85,000 signatures, however the government has ruled out the move.

While the government has downplayed talk of nationalising the steelworks, it has been suggested that it may offer to help engineer a sale.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said that nationalisation was ‘not a long-term solution’, but assured the government regards the steel industry as a ‘strategically important sector’.

The meeting, held on Thursday 31 March, will be attended by ministers and senior officials from the Treasury, Department for Business, Cabinet Office and Wesh Office and will aim to provide a ‘sustainable long-term future’ for the steel sector.