Government urged to secure 'legal assurances' Liberty Steel in Stocksbridge stays open
Ed Miliband has urged the government to obtain ‘legal assurances’ Liberty Steel’s Stocksbridge plant remains open during the sale process.
Labour’s shadow business secretary accused ministers of sitting on their hands and it was time to show they had a ‘plan B’.
He was reacting to news that the 750-strong site is to be sold to help the steel group pay debts.
He said: “Labour has called repeatedly for the Government to do whatever it takes to protect jobs and our steelmaking capacity, but instead ministers sat on their hands.
"It's absolutely vital the Government and Liberty secure legal assurances that the Stocksbridge plant, which is a British asset supplying our aerospace and defence industries and providing good jobs, will remain open and the workforce will be protected. Crucially we also need assurances about all of Liberty's other plants.
"The Government must show it has a plan B to protect the long-term future of our steel industry, including at Liberty - and public ownership must remain an option on the table."
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said the site had ‘enormous potential’.
He added: “The news that Stocksbridge Speciality Steels is to be sold off will be a cause for great anxiety among its 700 workers, and for the suppliers and wider community it helps to support.
“Their future, and the future of the steel industry in South Yorkshire, depends on finding a buyer willing to invest for the long-term. Both this site and the wider sector have enormous potential, but the government must act to help secure it.
“That includes being prepared to help provide finance to bridge any transition period until a new buyer is found – but also doing much more to ensure British-made speciality steel like that produced at Stocksbridge is used for the myriad of defence and infrastructure projects that need it.
“I will do everything I can as the Mayor of this region to support these efforts, and I met with Kwasi Kwarteng last week to raise our concerns and make the case for intervention.
“I ask the government as well as potential buyers to work with regional and local government in South Yorkshire and our Local Enterprise Partnership to find a long-term solution.”