Wednesday, 6 July 2016
UK renews pre-Brexit financial aid pledge for Tata Steel
The British government's offer of financial aid to Tata Steel UK and to potential buyers of its assets here is still on the table, business minister Anna Soubry said on Wednesday, despite Britain's shock vote last month to leave the European Union. Seeking to avoid thousands of job losses, thegovernment had offered millions of pounds in support for the company and its potential buyers. It also pledged to take a 25 per cent equity stake in Tata Steel UK and reform the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). Speaking at a special steel enquiry in parliament on Wednesday, Soubry said: "There is no change, (the offer) is still there." Reforming the deficit-laden BSPS, which has some 130,000 members, is a major stumbling block for any buyer of Tata Steel's UK assets, and Soubry said reforms will take time. The business minister, who opposed Britain leaving the EU, said she was still confident a buyer could be found, even as some MPs referred to reports that Tata Steel had put the sale process on hold. "The relationship we have with Tata, we should not be pessimistic. We turned them round from their position in March, which was they were going to close Port Talbot," she said.
Tata Steel will hold a board meeting in Mumbai this week, and Soubry said business secretary Sajid Javid may fly out to India to talk to the board about the sale.