With thousands of jobs at risk following Tata Steel’s move to sell its UK business, British Prime Minister David Cameron is likely to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss the matter as his government faces pressure over the economy ahead of the EU referendum.
The latest development also comes at a time when uncertainty persists over British economy ahead of the referendum in June to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or not.
Tata Steel has decided to “explore all options for portfolio restructuring including the potential divestment of Tata Steel UK, in whole or in parts” amid a “deteriorating financial performance of the UK subsidiary in the last 12 months”.
The move puts thousands of jobs at risk. Tata’s British business employs about 15,000 workers, including 4,000 at Port Talbot, the country’s biggest steelworks.
Tata’s Port Talbot site alone, which employs 5,500 people, is estimated to be losing 1 million pounds a day.
As the British government looks at various options to salvage the situation, Cameron is likely to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss the fallout of Tata Steel’s decision to sell its loss-making business in the UK.
According to British daily Telegraph, Cameron has decided to cut short his family holiday amid threat of job losses.
Business Minister Anna Soubry said the government was prepared to look at all the options to allow time for a buyer to be found to save thousands of jobs.
When asked on the BBC’s Today programme whether the government would be prepared to nationalise Tata’s remaining steel plants, she said: “We are, and have, and continue to look at, all options and I do mean all options.
“But what we first want to achieve is from Tata is this period of time to allow a proper sale process.”
However, when pressed, she said there was a limit to what the government could do. “We have to be very careful because we have these state aid rules, which have been established for well over 50 years.”
Tata Steel became Europe’s second largest steel maker after acquiring Corus nine years ago.