Talks go on over Hartlepool steel plant’s future

The Tata Steel site in Hartlepool.
The Tata Steel site in Hartlepool.

Talks are ongoing over the future of Tata Steel’s Hartlepool plant after the firm sold another arm of the business.

Tata has signed an agreement to sell its Speciality Steels business to Liberty House Group for £100 million.

The business employs 1,700 workers making products for the aerospace, automotive and oil and gas industries, and has several sites in South Yorkshire.

But it does not include the plant in Brenda Road, Hartlepool, and a spokesman said “talks are ongoing” into the future of the facility, which employs around 500 people.

Bimlendra Jha, chief executive of Tata Steel UK, said the sale “is good news for Speciality Steels and for Tata Steel’s core business in the UK”.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said: “This is not the end of the process and there is still work to do before the sale is completed.

“Community has been campaigning for months for longer-term certainty for these highly skilled jobs and we will now engage more directly with Liberty to understand their plan for the business.

“The steelworkers concerned produce some of the world’s most advanced steel products and we will need to be convinced this sale is in their best interests.

“We also need to see the Government do more to help support the future of Speciality Steels and create an environment in which the whole UK steel industry can survive and grow.”

Assets include sites in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Brinsworth in South Yorkshire and centres in Bolton and Wednesbury, West Midlands.

Liberty said the deal secures the future of around 1,700 jobs directly, and thousands more in the supply chain.

It will make Liberty one of the largest steel and engineering employers in the UK with more than 4,000 workers at plants located across Britain.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Acquiring Tata’s Speciality Steels business in South Yorkshire and West Midlands, which manufactures high-quality steel for some of the UK’s world-leading industries such as aerospace and automotive, is a great opportunity for Liberty House.

“I look forward to hearing more about their expansion plans which secures skilled jobs at the business into the future.”

Gill Furniss, shadow minister for steel, said: “This deal is a hugely important and very welcome development.”