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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

Tata Steel Scunthorpe plant sold to Greybull Capital

Thousands of jobs have been saved at Tata Steel in Scunthorpe after its sale went through overnight. The plant was under threat of closure if owners Tata steel could not find a buyer. Investment firm Greybull Capital agreed in principal to buy the steel giant's long products division last month. The deal has now been confirmed.

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Northern powerhouse 'could fail'

The Government needs to invest more in building up skills and industry in the so-called 'northern powerhouse' cities, according to a report.

The Centre for Cities thinktank says Leeds and Sheffield are 'underperforming' in economic terms - by around 40 per cent - in comparison with their European counterparts.

The report says simply building better transport links between our northern cities, such as HS3, is not enough.

“We can’t build a successful Northern Powerhouse without stronger, more productive cities.

''The Government’s initiative has the potential to have a huge impact in addressing the North/South divide, but only if it maintains its original focus of boosting productivity in major Northern cities such as Leeds and Sheffield.

''These big urban areas have the most potential for growth in the region, but are currently underperforming, especially in comparison to cities in more successful areas such as the Rhine-Ruhr and Randstad areas.

“Instead of spreading limited monies and political focus equally across the whole region, national and local policy-makers should concentrate most resources on addressing the economic challenges that big Northern cities like Leeds and Sheffield face, as these have greatest potential to deliver benefits for the North as a whole.”

– Alexandra Jones, Centre for Cities
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Steel trade unions welcome Tata pension law consultation

The steel trade unions have welcomed the Government's consultation on changes to pensions law as part of efforts to save Tata Steel and called on the company to uphold its "legal, social and moral responsibilities" to steel workers.

In a combined statement, Community, Unite and GMB endorsed the move to avoid the "unmitigated disaster" of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) going into the financial safety net of the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) with a sale of Tata's assets.

It is important that all stakeholders continue to explore all available options that avoid the need for the scheme to go into the PPF, which would be the worst deal for scheme members.

It is important to remember that Tata Steel remains the employer and sponsor of the BSPS. They have significant legal, social and moral responsibilities with regards to the British steel industry and those men and women who have worked and continue to work within it.

– Community, Unite and GMB
Steel unions said they would continue to be 'led by our members' in the industry. Credit: PA Wire

The Human Resources director for Tata Steel's European operations said the consultation would enable a "better outcome" for the vast majority of members of the BSPS.

We welcome the inclusion of an option to change the way that future payments in the scheme are increased. This option, which is fully supported by the pension scheme's trustees, provides a way for the scheme to continue to operate on a well-funded, low-risk basis indefinitely.

The British Steel Pension Scheme was set up on the basis that pension increases would be provided so long as they remained affordable. The proposed legislative changes would allow this unusual rule to operate as intended. That means it's unlikely that a regulatory change would affect other final salary pension schemes.

– Tor Farquhar, Human Resources director for Tata Steel's European operations
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Javid 'wary of precedent' amid Tata pensions consultation

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed the Government is set to launch an "open consultation" on changes to pensions law as part of efforts to save Tata Steel despite being "very wary of setting a precedent".

The consultation, which will run until June 23, sets out a number of different options for the British Steel Pension Scheme and its 130,000 members.

The scheme includes 14,000 people currently employed by Tata or another employer, 32,000 are deferred (no longer employed by Tata but below the scheme's normal pension age) and 84,000 pensioners.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed in the House of Commons details of the Tata consultation.

The Government has been warned against the impact of setting a precedent by seeking to change pension law.

"No decision (on Tata's future) has been made," Mr Javid told MPs. "We are very wary of setting a precedent ... this is very much about this scheme and this scheme only in these very unique circumstances."

Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle warned against cutting the fund's long-term liabilities by benchmarking it to the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the higher retail price index (RPI), saying: "This change is currently illegal."

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Hull to get extra £3 million for UK City of Culture year

Funding announced at breakfast gathering

Hull is to get an extra £3 million to spend on it's year as UK City of Culture.

The money, which will come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, was announced at a breakfast gathering in Hull called to launch a series of events in the city this summer.

Martin Green, the man in charge of the city's cultural celebrations says it will mean a boost for local libraries.

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'All British Tata Steel bid' between Excalibur Steel UK and Liberty House 'completely untrue'

Credit: PA

A deal between Excalibur Steel UK and Liberty House to buy the Tata Steel UK operation is "completely untrue", ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills has been told.

The "all-British bid" between the two companies was thought to have been to allow Excalibur access to what one source describes as "the deep pockets" of Liberty House, while in turn they would benefit from working closely with the team who have been seen as the front-runners from the outset of the sales process.

The rumour had emerged ahead of the planned Tata board meeting in Mumbai this week to whittle down the seven bids for the ailing steel operation.

The sale includes the huge Port Talbot plant and 15,000 jobs across the UK.

Government workers strike over plans to close Sheffield office

Government workers were on the picket line in Sheffield for a one day strike over the loss of 250 posts.

The staff from the Business, Innovation and Skills Department could lose their jobs with the posts relocating to London. Unions say there is no justification for the move.

96 percent of workers voted to strike over the move which the Government says the move is to reduce costs and modernise working practices.

We are not getting any rationale or reasoning that we think stacks up. It will cost money to move our jobs to London, it will lose key expertise on policy development and obviously and significantly will have a huge impact in terms of the community in Sheffield

– Marion Lloyd, Public and Commercial Services Union
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