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'Intensive talks' with Tata to ensure serious sales process

Published 04/05/2016

The Tata Steelworks in Port Talbot
The Tata Steelworks in Port Talbot

The Government is "talking intensively" with Tata Steel to ensure the sale of its UK assets is a "serious sales process," David Cameron has said as he acknowledged it was a "very short time table".

His comments came as Labour's Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) raised concerns over the time frame set for the sale and asked what the Government was doing to ensure Tata Steel "delivers on its promise to be a responsible seller".

Speaking during PMQs, Mr Kinnock asked : "Tata Steel has indicated that it wishes to complete the sale of its UK assets by the middle of June and that it wants a preferred bidder in place by the end of this month.

"Does the Prime Minister really think that that's a realistic time frame and that there'll be a credible process of due diligence, and what steps is the Prime Minister taking to ensure that Tata Steel delivers on its promise to be a responsible seller."

Mr Cameron replied: "He is absolutely right about this. The positive news is that the deadline yesterday was met by a number of serious enquiries of interest into buying all of Tata, and that is good news.

"Obviously now we need to work intensively with Tata and with those buyers to get that list down to those who are really seriously intending to bid for the business. But he's right, it's a very short time table.

"He asks what we're doing. What we're doing is talking intensively with Tata to make sure they do everything they can to make sure this is a serious sales process."

The Government has pledged to support any buyer of the business by buying up to a quarter stake, and making hundreds of millions of pounds of finance available.

Tata has made it clear it cannot sustain the £1 million-a-day losses indefinitely.

Mr Cameron last week visited the Tata Steel works in Port Talbot, South Wales to assure workers, unions and bosses of the Government's commitment to support the future of steel-making at the under-threat plant.

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