Steel crisis: 11 questions and answers on the Tata saga threatening 25,000 jobs

Thousands of steelworkers' jobs are under threat after Indian conglomerate Tata decided to sell its UK assets, including its Hartlepool plant.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 11:05 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2016, 11:41 am
Tata Steel announced it is selling off its UK assets, including its Hartlepool plant.

Q1. Why is Tata selling its steel business?

The company is losing £1 million a day following a collapse in the price of steel products.

Q2. Why is the steel industry in crisis?

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Firms have blamed cheap imports, especially from China, high energy costs and climate change policies.

Q3. How much have prices fallen?

The price of hot rolled coil - what they make at Port Talbot - was 640 US dollars (approx £385) per tonne in 2014, falling to 320 dollars per tonne (£215) at the end of 2015.

Q4. How many jobs have already been lost in the UK?

Around 5,000 jobs have been axed in the past year.

Q5. How many workers remain in the industry?

Up to 25,000 workers are directly employed at steel plants, with many more relying on the industry for jobs.

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Q6. What are the options for the Government?

Ministers have made it clear their priority is finding a buyer for the business.

Q7. Could Tata's plants be bought by the Government while efforts are made to find a buyer?

Very unlikely. The Government would have to take over the losses and running costs - and the Conservatives don't usually support renationalisation.

Q8. How strong is the steel industry in China?

China's steelmakers, some 70% of which are state owned, are not profitable and it is believed that they lose close to 34 dollars (£24) per tonne on all crude steel produced.

Q9. How much steel is China producing?

In 2015 China produced 441 million tonnes more steel than it consumes. With prices slumping, China's 101 biggest steel firms lost 11 billion dollars (£7.7billion) during the first 10 months of 2015, roughly twice what they made in profits in 2014.

Q10. How will big job losses affect communities?

Areas across Wales, Yorkshire and the North East will be devastated. The worst hit will be Port Talbot, where over 4,000 workers are directly employed.

Q11. Could there be a management/union buyout?

Highly unlikely because of the scale of the crisis.