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Manufacturer: the UK's financial security is up in the air

The owner of a West Yorkshire-based manufacturing company says he feels a "total lack of confidence" in the future after the UK voted to leave the EU.

John Cotton, the owner of Mirfield-based bed company John Cotton, says he fears the UK's financial security is at stake.

John Cotton is Europe's largest manufacturer of bedding, and also has a factory based in Poland.

I'm feeling a total lack of confidence right now. The problem is that we don't know what we are letting ourselves in for. There's massive insecurity around all the things that we have taken for granted for so long. Our jobs, the exchange rates, our financial security, our safety, all these things are completely up in the air.

– John Cotton

More than 100 job losses as Huddersfield plumbing firm goes bust

A Huddersfield plumbing company has gone into administration, with the loss of 110 jobs.

V&T (Plumbing, Central-Heating and Bathrooms) Limited, trading as Aqua Interiors, operated across the North of England, installing kitchens, bathrooms and central heating systems, predominantly to local authorities, housing associations and house builders.

Seventeen employees have been retained to help wind the firm down.

The company had suffered from cash flow difficulties in recent months, and had been unable to reach agreement with HMRC regarding historic tax arrears, which ultimately led to the Company entering administration. Unfortunately, an accelerated marketing process over the past few weeks was unable to find a buyer for the business, and as such redundancies were made following appointment. We will be assisting employees during this difficult time.”

– Howard Smith, KPMG joint administrator

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Unions welcome Scunthorple steelworks sale

The steelworkers' union Community has welcomed the completion of the sale of Tata Steel's Long Products Europe business to Greybull Capital LLP. The new company will trade as British Steel.

"Community warmly welcomes the opening of this new chapter in the course of the UK steel industry. It also demonstrates that there is the chance of a brighter future for steel making in the UK, with the right vision and investment.

"British Steel is built on firm foundations with a skilled, experienced and dedicated workforce determined to make a success of the business. They have a proud track record of delivering high-quality long products to flagship construction and infrastructure products around the world. The turnaround plan agreed between management and unions is already yielding positive results.

"I want to pay tribute to Community's local union reps not just in Scunthorpe, but at Lackenby, Skinningrove and throughout the downstream operations. Their hard work and commitment to a sustainable future for steel has been key in getting us here today. Our members have also shown their commitment by the sacrifices they have made to back the plan and give the new business the best chance of success.

"Today marks the start of a new journey for UK steel making and there may be more challenges ahead. That's why it's vital that the government continues to take action to deliver on the promises it's made to the industry and to develop and implement an integrated industrial strategy and a long-term vision for UK steel.

"Today also brings to an end a long period of uncertainty for steelworkers within the Long Products business. From the first moment Tata put the business up for sale, we insisted that they be a responsible seller and allow time for the right buyer to come forward and for the deal to be completed. Tata has honoured that commitment with this deal but now they must do the same for the remainder of their UK operations and work with Community through the sales process."

– Community's General Secretary, Roy Rickhuss

Thousands of jobs saved in Scunthorpe

Tata Steel in Scunthorple becomes British Steel today Credit: ITV News

From today Tata Steel's Long Products Europe business, which in the UK includes the Scunthorpe steelworks, two mills in Teesside, an engineering workshop in Workington, a design consultancy in York, and associated distribution facilities, as well as a rail mill in northern France, will trade under the name of British Steel.

All together the business employs 4,800 people – 4,400 in the UK and 400 in France. The sale follows an accelerated process of negotiations between Tata Steel UK and Greybull Capital to achieve this outcome.

“As a responsible seller, Tata Steel is delighted to have secured a buyer for this business and we hope that under Greybull ownership, the business will continue the momentum of the improvement program that has been initiated in the last 12 months.

“Employees and trade unions have worked closely with the Long Products Europe management team to improve the business’s prospects, putting it in a more competitive position than it has been for many years. It is through their dedication and hard work that we are in this position today in spite of continued challenges in the market".

– Mr Bimlendra Jha Executive Chairman of the Long Products Europe business and CEO of Tata Steel UK
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