Another loan for British Steel to deal with 'Brexit-related issues'

Vince Cable opposes the ferry investment

Vince Cable opposes the ferry investment

"We have a fantastic workforce here in Scunthorpe producing some of the best steel in the world; 4,000 high skilled jobs are at stake here".

Ministers were facing calls last night to protect thousands of jobs after it emerged that British Steel was urgently seeking a loan of up to £75 million.

The company is understood to have secured a financial support loan on commercial terms with Whitehall as part of a broader package announced earlier this month.

Uncertainty over Brexit has led to a slump in orders from Europe and it has also been affected by USA tariffs on steel imports.

However, a British Steel spokesperson said:"The uncertainties around Brexit are posing challenges for all businesses including British Steel and we are holding constructive discussions with our stakeholders on how to navigate them".

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it could not comment on speculation about its role in any rescue talks. It has had to secure a loan of £100 million from the United Kingdom government in order to meet its obligations over an European Union carbon tax and avoid a hefty fine.

GMB national officer Ross Murdoch said: "This government has a track record of sitting on its hands while United Kingdom manufacturing collapses round its ears".

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Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "I personally spent a lot of time as Business Secretary working with British Steel to rebuild its competitiveness".

Quoting people close to the process, Sky said insolvency experts have been placed on standby in case British Steel can not secure the funds it needs.

"Thousands of United Kingdom jobs are on the line, not to mention the entire future of our proud steel industry", said Ross Murdoch, national officer of the GMB union.

The news comes amid uncertainty over the future of Tata Steel's main European operations based in the United Kingdom after German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp last week scrapped merger plans with the Indian giant.

British Steel blamed "Brexit-related issues" for its difficulties, with one source saying orders from increasingly anxious customers in the European Union had "dried up".

Private equity firm Greybull Capital rescued Tata Steel's long products business - which makes steel for the rail and construction sectors - during the depths of the steel crisis in 2016, saving more than 4,000 jobs.

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