Hartlepool plant is a major asset for Tata, says MP

Tata Steel's site in Brenda Road in Hartlepool.
Tata Steel's site in Brenda Road in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool’s Tata steel plant will be a major asset for any new owner of the troubled firm, says Iain Wright.

The Hartlepool MP was speaking after commodities trading firm Liberty House confirmed it would put in a formal bid to buy all of Tata Steel’s UK assets. The firm employs 500 people at its Hartlepool site.

Iain Wright

Iain Wright

“The news that Liberty House is to bid for all of Tata’s UK steel operation is course for quiet optimism for the continuation of production in Hartlepool,” said Iain Wright.

“It is a good business, with a committed management and workforce, making excellent products. It makes strong business sense that any potentially buyer would be particularly interested in the Hartlepool operations.

“The key now is for Tata and the Government to allow time for proper due diligence and checks to take place. Complex transactions such as this take months.

“Tata should ensure it is a responsible seller and the government needs to provide guarantees to keep operations open and employment ongoing.

“I asked a question in the House of Commons to the Business Secretary about providing credit insurance so firms supplying Tata know what they’re going to get paid.

“The whole sale process may take a long time but today’s news is a positive step for the workers affected and the viability of British steel operations in Hartlepool and across the rest of the U.K.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “Clearly, it is positive news Liberty House has confirmed it will put in a formal bid to buy Tata Steel’s UK assets.

“However, it is still early days and we await further information as to how any potential deal could affect the Hartlepool Pipe Mill site.

“The council will give every support it can in relation to the Hartlepool plant.”

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of steelworkers’ union Community, said: “As we have said all along, we welcome interest from credible investors but there is a still a way to go in the sales process.

“Community already has a good working relationship with Liberty. We look forward to hearing in more detail about their plans.

“The fact that there are a number of parties interested in buying the business is welcome and shows investors believe that UK steel making can be successful.

“We would expect all potential investors to meet with Community so we can understand their plans.”