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Community response to British Steel insolvency news

22nd May 2019

Responding to news that British Steel is expected to be placed under the official receiver this morning, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of the steelworkers’ trade union, Community, said:

“This news will heap more worries on workers and everyone connected with British Steel but it will also end the uncertainty under Greybull’s ownership and must be seized as an opportunity to look for an alternative future.

“It is vital now that cool heads prevail and all parties focus on saving the jobs.

“In these very difficult circumstances we know the workforce will continue to fight for the business as they have done for so many years.

“We would urge the management, contractors, suppliers and customers to support them in that fight for the future.

“But in light of events over the past few weeks, it is clear that future should not involve Greybull. Greybull needs to do the right thing by getting out of the road and let those who are committed to our industry work together to save the business.

“While the coke ovens keep burning and the steel assets remain there continues to be hope both for steelmaking at Scunthorpe and for its downstream operations. What is needed is the right ownership.

“We would appeal to the receiver to allow sufficient time for buyers to come forward and develop their plans.

“British Steel workers will be sceptical of what the government might do because they remember what happened in Redcar. But now is the time to show that lessons have been learnt and the political will has changed.

“This business, which supports 25,0000 jobs, has to survive and government must do everything possible to secure its survival.

“Government needs to work closely with the official receiver and if necessary government must be prepared to use any available options in its power to ensure the assets are secured so the business can be rebuilt.

“The clean-up costs for the industrial sites could end up costing taxpayers more than a billion pounds notwithstanding the costs of devastation to more steel communities.”