Prime Minister says government in 'daily talks' with Liberty Steel management over financial problems

Credit: ITV News

Boris Johnson has told ITV News that the government is talking daily to management at Liberty Steel over financial issues.

Liberty Steel employs nearly 2,000 workers at sites in Rotherham, Stocksbridge, and Scunthorpe. It has 5,000 workers across its 12 UK sites.

Concerns over the future of the company were raised after financial backer, Greensill Capital, went bust.

Mr Johnson would not say if the government would bail out the steelworks, last month the government rejected an appeal by Liberty Steel for £170 million in financial aid.

The Prime Minister added that there was a "huge demand" for British Steel and that he wanted to see companies like Liberty benefit from this.

"Just in the UK alone there’s a market for a pipeline of steel five million tonnes worth that we want to make sure goes to British producers, British steel making companies," he said.

"So that’s our short medium term and  long term ambition. Make sure the infrastructure revolution that we are embarked on uses the abilities of companies like Liberty Steel."

Sanjeev Gupta has admitted he owes billions to defunct firm Greensill Capital.

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Stamer, said today that the Prime Minister should go and talk directly to steel workers about the future of their jobs rather than "checking his WhatsApp group from his mates".

Sanjeev Gupta, the owner of Liberty Steel, has said that none of his steel plants will shut down on his watch.

Mr Gupta has admitted he owes “many billions” of pounds to Greensill Capital but he insists that the collapse of his main lender will not bring his business down.

Ross Murdoch, National Officer at the GMB union, said: "GMB had a further meeting with Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday. 

"However, whilst group owner Sanjeev Gupta continues to exude confidence funding can be secured to protect the UK businesses, we effectively remain in the same stand-off position. 

"GMB very much hopes that this plan A works, but we have been engaging with the Government to ensure contingency plans are in place should it fail to materialise. 

"Ministers have confirmed to us all options to save the business are on the table, however no discussions around these options can really take place whilst plan A remains a realistic possibility."