Gupta asks UK ministers for £170m to save steel jobs
Cash needed for day-to-day costs
Liberty Steel owner Sanjeev Gupta has asked the UK government for £170m in financial support, it has been reported.
Mr Gupta has written to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy requesting help to pay day-to-day operating expenses and soak up recent losses.
His correspondence has emerged amid concerns over the future of Liberty Steel, part of the GFG Alliance which employs 5,000 workers around the UK.
Its problems emerged with the collapse of its key financial backer, Greensill Capital.
Mr Gupta has told the business department that “the collapse of Greensill has put financial pressure on the GFG Alliance and our British steel operations.
“We are still refining the details with my management team and our external advisors, but preliminary indications are that the steel manufacturing and processing operations would need in the range of £170m to fund working capital and some additional capital to fund operating losses in the short term, which we are in the process of finalising.”
Sources have indicated that it was unlikely government support would be offered to the company with its current structure and management.
A spokeswoman for the government said: “The government is closely monitoring developments around Liberty Steel and continues to engage closely with the company, the broader UK steel industry and trade unions.”
Both the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson have pledged in recent days to look at all options to ensure the business survives.
There a growing concerns that GFG could collapse into administration in the coming days without emergency taxpayer funding.
Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers Lucy Powell said: “Labour has called for a plan B for Liberty Steel.
“It’s in our national interest to safeguard jobs and domestic steel-making capacity. The ball is now in the government’s court. Ministers must put aside ideology and keep all options on the table, to ensure the best value for money option and the long-term future of these plants.”