Fears for hundreds of jobs in Rotherham and Stocksbridge as Liberty Steel faces winding up petition

Hundreds of steelworkers could be affected Credit: PA

Fears have been raised for the future of hundreds of steelworkers in South Yorkshire after their employer was served with a winding up petition.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) issued the order against Speciality Steel UK Limited – a division of Liberty Steel.

The speciality steel unit employs around 2,000 people at plants in Stocksbridge and Rotherham, supplying the aerospace and oil and gas sectors.

It is unclear if one or both steel works will be affected.

But Rotherham's Labour MP Sarah Champion said the news was "deeply concerning."

She said: "Steel production is hugely important to Rotherham. Liberty is a key part of our local economy, both through those directly employed in steel production and for thoseconnected to its supply chain.

"Workers will be understandably worried, and I will be doing all that I can to support them."

She called on the government to step in, saying: "Both Liberty and the Government must also provide immediate reassurances to workers who are concerned for their livelihoods at what is already an incredibly challenging time."

Liberty Steel's owner GFG Alliance, was forced into a financial restructuring last year after its main lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed.

A Liberty Steel spokesperson said its priority was to protect jobs in the UK.

In a statement they said: "Against a very challenging backdrop in the UK with record high energy prices and imports we have provided tens of millions in funding to keep our people in employment and maintain operations to serve customers and strategic supply chains while we complete our refinancing.

"We are in continuous dialogue with all our creditors including HMRC to find an amicable solution that’s in the best interest of all stakeholders.

"Short term actions that risk destabilising these efforts are not in anyone’s interest, and undermine creditor recovery at a critical stage in our debt restructuring efforts that seek to secure the future of our businesses."

A spokesperson for the government's department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the government was closely monitoring developments around Liberty Steel.

They added: "As always, we stand ready to support their dedicated employees and their families affected by any developments.

"We have provided extensive support to the steel sector as a whole to help with the costs of electricity and are working with them to support their low carbon transition.”