Hartlepool jobs latest: Business Secretary admits Liberty Steel plants could close
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has warned there is a danger that Liberty Steel could be forced to close some of its UK plants following the collapse of its main financial backer.
Around 250 staff are employed at the troubled company’s Hartlepool premises in Brenda Road.
Giving evidence to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Mr Kwarteng said the firm had “good assets” that could be made to work.
Yet he said that its parent company, the GFG Alliance, needed to work through its plans to get new financing before there was any question of the Government intervening.
GFG boss Sanjeev Gupta has been seeking to refinance the business – which he has said owes “many billions” – after finance firm Greensill Capital filed for insolvency, threatening 5,000 jobs nationwide.
Greensill has been the subject of intense controversy at Westminster following the disclosure of former Prime Minister David Cameron’s lobbying activities on its behalf.
Mr Kwarteng said that Mr Cameron had never tried to contact him, adding: “I have never received a single phone call or WhatsApp from Mr Cameron.”
The Business Secretary told the committee he wanted to see Liberty Steel succeed but acknowledged that some parts of the business could be lost.
“There is always that danger. It is something that I speak to government officials about and even the Prime Minister I have spoken to about it,” he said.
The ongoing uncertainty was also debated in the House of Commons, with Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, saying: “With Greensill’s collapse, thousands of jobs in Rotherham, Hartlepool, right across the country have been put at risk.”