Hartlepool MP calls for Government to step in and protect Liberty Steel workers amid fears for 250 jobs in town

Hartlepool’s MP is urging the Government to intervene to protect jobs after Liberty Steel’s main lender went into administration.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 12:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 2:15 pm
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill is urging the Government to step in to protect Liberty Steel jobs including 250 in Hartlepool.

Mike Hill says he is calling on Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to get involved amid fears for 250 workers at Liberty Steel’s site in Brenda Road, Hartlepool.

It comes after Greensill, which lends money to Liberty Steel owners GFG Alliance, appointed administrators on Monday, March 8, after falling into ‘severe financial distress’ raising fears for 5,000 jobs including those in Hartlepool.

Mr Hill said: “Liberty Steel in Hartlepool has gone from strength to strength in Hartlepool and has been recently cited as an intrinsic partner in the formation of a Freeport for Teesside by the Government and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

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"If the company goes under because the Greensill insolvency scenario doesn’t involve Liberty Steel assets then the business could collapse putting 250 jobs at risk in the town.”

Mr Hill said the company is a major supplier to the Ministry of Defence and hydro power industry, and its Hartlepool order book includes contracts as far away as the USA and the Caspian Sea regions.

Liberty Steel chairman Sanjeev Gupta hailed a “bright future” for the Hartlepool site after Liberty Steel acquired the 42-inch and 84-inch steel mills that manufacture pipeline for the international oil and gas industry from Tata Steel in the summer of 2017.

Mr Hill and Labour Tees Valley Mayor candidate Jessie Joe Jacobs are urging the Government to intervene to prevent another Redcar steelworks like collapse of 2015.

Ms Jacobs said: “The workers at Hartlepool need answers about what this means for their jobs – and what the Conservative Government is doing to save their livelihoods.

“Steel making is at the heart of our communities and British steel should be at the heart of our post-Covid recovery.

"The industry needs support in this difficult time and nothing should be off the table – including nationalisation.”

Mr Hill added: “That is why I am pushing the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to intervene in the Greensill/Liberty situation, not only to protect Hartlepool jobs, but to save one of the UK’s proudest industries.”

A spokesperson for GFG Alliance said it was in talks with financial institutions that can help diversify its funds and would keep employees up to date.

In a joint statement on Liberty Steel, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and leader of Hartlepool Council Shane Moore, said: “Right now our priority is the workers of Liberty Steel in Hartlepool during this time of uncertainty. We are monitoring the situation closely and have held talks with GFG Alliance - Liberty Steel's parent company.

“Currently, Liberty Steel continues to operate and trade as normal, our number one priority right now is ensuring the 250 local workers who work for Liberty in Hartlepool have their jobs protected.

“Liberty’s Hartlepool pipe mills are the biggest in the UK making them a hugely important strategic asset that, over the past few years, have allowed the plant to land a number of major global contracts. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of the plants hugely skilled workforce and we will do all we can to protect these skilled, well paid jobs.”

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