June 28, 2019 5.09 pm This story is over 28 months old

Council calls for ‘sustainable future’ for British Steel

The company entered insolvency last month

North Lincolnshire Council has “fully committed” to using UK steel in its procurement policies and called on the government to secure a “long term plan” for the steelworks.

The authority made the commitment at a full council meeting today to support steelworkers and protect jobs at the site.

Councillors said they would work with any future owner of the Scunthorpe site to secure further investment at the works off Brigg Road in the town.

British Steel continues to search for a buyer after entering insolvency last month, putting some 5,000 jobs at risk.

The company entered the process after rescue talks between owner Greybull Capital and the government broke down.

Scunthorpe steelworks. Photo: Alan Murray-Rust

The government’s official receiver is still searching for a buyer ahead of a reported deadline of Sunday.

Around 10 possible buyers are expected to come forward to bid for the company, according to the Financial Times.

But councillors called on the government to secure a “long term plan” for the works, which would include capital investment.

Council leader, Rob Waltham, said the town needs a “succesful steelworks”.

“The government has already committed millions of pounds to keep the steel industry working: paying wages, meeting current supplier costs and committing to future material costs,” he said.

Councillor Rob Waltham, leader of North Lincolnshire Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

“Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, chairs a weekly meeting to bring together important steel industry figures including employee representatives, the local council and local enterprise partnerships.

“The steelworkers in Scunthorpe are our friends and our neighbours, our family members, our parents and our children.

“For their future and for the future of steel manufacturing in our area, and recognising its strategic importance of this industry to our country, it is vital we work together cross-party to send a united message to any future buyer that we are an area that is open for business and that we are keen to see a successful steel industry in our town.”

Meanwhile, leader of the Labour group and opposition, Len Foster, said it was “concerning” that the authority was considering a similar motion to three years ago.

He added that the key to sustaining the steelworks was investment and that a solution needed to be found by the government.

“We need to find a way that takes away the fear for employees families,” he said.

“It’s shame that we had a similar motion three years ago. It is concerning for families in the industry and most of the supply chain across North Lincolnshire.

“We need to support the government of the day to find a solution.”

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