MPs react to Liberty Steel plant reopening in Rotherham and safeguarding 600 jobs
MPs have welcomed the announcement that Liberty Steel is to reopen its plant in Rotherham and safeguard 600 jobs.
The firm’s Rotherham plant has been closed since spring but a £50m cash injection will allow it to reopen this month.
Workers have faced uncertainty over the future of their jobs for months after Liberty’s owner GFG Alliance’s key lender, Greensill Capital, collapsed.
The funding announced last night comes as part of a restructuring of GFG Alliance.
Jeffrey Kabel, GFG's chief transformation officer, said in a statement: “The injection of £50m of shareholder funds into Liberty Steel UK is an important step in our restructuring and transformation.”
The majority of its South Yorkshire workers have been on furlough since spring.
GFG said the cash injection would allow Liberty Steel to restart its furnace at Rotherham and produce 50,000 tonnes per month.
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said: “It is a huge relief that GFG Alliance have managed to secure the financing to continue investing in their Liberty Steel Rotherham sites. The workers and supply chain have been under considerable stress with all the uncertainty for the last few months, hopefully this news takes some of that pressure away.
“However, the Government still needs to address the underlying issues that hold steel in the country back. They need to commit to using British steel in all their infrastructure projects and address the ridiculously high business rates.
“Finally, and more pressing than ever - British steel faces the highest energy costs in Europe, and this is going to get worse unless the Government steps in. GFG/Liberty has faith in our industry, now the Government needs to show its long-term commitment too.”
South Yorkshire Mayor and Barnsley MP, Dan Jarvis, added: “This is a welcome announcement for the steel industry and South Yorkshire, which will get operations up and running at two key sites in our region.
“Steel is a strategic sector for the UK economy and with the right support can have a bright future - providing good jobs and prosperity with the transition to green steel.
“That’s why we need industry, government and trade unions to continue working together to safeguard steel’s future, protecting jobs and businesses in the supply chain for the long-term.”