Tata Steel to ask for £500 million bailout, according to reports

The coronavirus outbreak will cost Britain’s largest steel manufacturer £500 million, according to an MP.

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, whose constituency includes the Port Talbot steelworks, said Tata Steel needed Government support to survive the Covid-19 shutdown.

Sky News has reported the firm has approached the UK and Welsh Governments for a £500 million funding package after many of its customers, such as car manufacturers, halted production during the crisis.

The broadcaster reported the request was under discussion with the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Government has introduced a Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which offers loans of up to £50 million to UK-based businesses with a turnover of over £45 million.

Mr Kinnock said the cap needed to be lifted, otherwise the future of Tata Steel lay in the balance.

“Since the 2016 UK steel crisis the UK government has offered plenty of warm words about supporting our steel industry,” he said.

“Now is the time for ministers to finally start matching those words with actions.”

Earlier this week, Mr Kinnock questioned Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was deputising for Boris Johnson at PMQs, about the future of British steel.

In reply, Mr Raab said Chancellor Rishi Sunak was “looking carefully” at the steel industry.

Tata Steel employs more than 8,000 people in the UK, including around 4,000 at Port Talbot.

The original Port Talbot steelworks opened in 1905 (Ben Birchall/PA).
The original Port Talbot steelworks opened in 1905 (Ben Birchall/PA).

Lucy Powell, Labour’s shadow minister for business and consumers, said: “Steel is a vital sector for the UK in the jobs it provides and its role in Britain’s domestic manufacturing.

“UK produced steel is critical to ensuring our economy recovers quickly and to make our domestic manufacturing more resilient in the future.

“It is right for the Government to work with the industry to protect employment, which is the lifeblood of communities, while ensuring taxpayer value for money.”

A Government spokesman said: “The Government has put together a far-reaching package of support to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

“We continue to regularly engage with businesses across all sectors, including those in the steel industry.”