Speciality Steels jobs: South Yorkshire MP John Healey urges business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to intervene

A South Yorkshire MP has urged the business secretary to intervene and get HMRC ‘back around the table’ with Liberty Steel to save hundreds of jobs.

Monday, 21st February 2022, 2:53 pm
Updated Monday, 21st February 2022, 2:54 pm

John Healey wrote to Kwasi Kwarteng to reinforce the importance of Liberty’s Speciality Steels division to the local and national economy.

It came after the business was hit with a ‘winding up’ order by HMRC over unpaid debts, putting 2,000 jobs in Rotherham and Stocksbridge at risk.

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Liberty's giant steelworks in Rotherham is visible from Sheffield

Mr Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, wrote that the UK steel industry was already facing a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges due to rising energy costs, supply chain disruption and export tariffs in the US market which other major steel-making nations have persuaded the Americans to remove.

He added: “This news is deeply unsettling for workers in Rotherham who again face huge uncertainty about their future. HMRC’s winding up petition raises serious concerns about Liberty's steelmaking future in South Yorkshire.

“I plan to hold the company to their pledge that this announcement will have ‘no immediate impact on our businesses or employees.

Kwasi Kwarteng , Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Picture by Jane Coltman

“I will continue to work with other steel MPs to meet with ministers about the government action needed to support our UK steel industry.”

He urged the business secretary to ’ensure HMRC get back around the table with Liberty to reach a repayments agreement and avoid the risk of Liberty being forced out of business by the Government’.

The tax authority has applied for a winding-up petition - an application to a court to close down a company - over unpaid debts believed to be £25m.

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, wrote that the UK steel industry was already facing a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges.

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