Belfast Telegraph

Nationalise British Steel to avoid economic catastrophe, Unite union tells ministers

Minister: Andrew Stephenson
Minister: Andrew Stephenson

By Alan Jones

The Government is being urged to nationalise British Steel if a deal to avoid it falling into administration cannot be reached.

Unite said it would be an "economic catastrophe" if the company, which has a service centre in Lisburn that employs around 70 people, went out of business.

The Government reassured MPs it would "leave no stone unturned" in supporting the UK's steel industry.

Business minister Andrew Stephenson told the Commons the Government would do everything it could, within legal parameters, to back the sector.

"I can reassure the House that, subject to strict legal bounds, the Government will leave no stone unturned in its support for the steel industry," he said.

There are fears that struggling British Steel could go into administration if it does not receive financial help from the Government.

Almost 5,000 workers are employed by the company, mainly in Scunthorpe, but with another 20,000 employed by firms in the supply chain.

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Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: "While Unite is in continuing dialogue with British Steel and the Government, we are very clear that if a deal cannot be struck to secure the long-term future of the steelmaker under private ownership, the Government must bring it under public control in the national interest."

Steel from the company's Lisburn operation was used in the construction of Belfast's Grand Central Hotel.

Belfast Telegraph