A union has reiterated the importance of Corby’s steelworkers to the industry after a potential buyer of Tata Steel came forward.
The move by Liberty House Group last night (Tuesday) could see the future of the plant saved after months of crisis in the steel industry.
There are more than 500 workers at the Corby steelworks, and spokesman for the union Unite says they are integral to the industry.
The spokesman said: “Corby steelworkers along with their colleagues across the UK make some of the best steel in the world.
“Their skills and experience are central in securing a successful future for the UK’s steel industry and should be at the forefront of any potential bidder’s plans.”
A statement from Liberty House about their intentions read: “The document, which was sent from Liberty’s international headquarters in London, states the company’s intention to bid for all of Tata Steel’s UK assets, excluding its Long Products division which is in the process of being sold separately, and the Scottish Plate Assets that Liberty already acquired from Tata.
“The bid is based on Liberty’s Greensteel business model and would involve a transition from steelmaking in blast furnaces to recycling steel in electric arc furnaces over time, while ensuring the company continues to meet key customers’ quality requirements.
“Steelmaking would be ultimately powered by renewable energy sources.
“Liberty believes the UK steel industry can achieve long-term viability if based on an agile, sustainable, non-cyclical model which integrates liquid steel-making from recycling with downstream production and the manufacture of advanced engineering products.”
Corby and East Northants MP Tom Pursglove welcomed the move, saying: “It is very positive news that considerable interest is being shown in purchasing Tata Steel UK’s portfolio, which includes the Corby site, with both Liberty House and Excalibur Steel UK Ltd, the latter being a management buy-out option, submitting letters of intent.
“Indeed, yesterday, I asked the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, for an update on exactly what point has been reached in the discussions that are taking place with the aim of securing the future of the Corby site, and the industry as a whole.
“The Secretary of State is clearly limited in what he can say publicly, owing to the commercial sensitivities involved, but he assured me, and the rest of the House, that the Government is doing everything it can to secure the future of this vital industry.
“I strongly hope that these bids materialise and a buyer is found in the very near future - local steelworkers and their families need certainty at this worrying time.
“UK steel is world-leading in its quality, and we need a strong and secure future for the industry – achieved through finding a buyer, but also providing additional support around energy costs, business rates, and tackling unfair, uncompetitive, and unacceptable ‘dumping’ on our market.
“These are all steps I have been campaigning for alongside cross-party colleagues, both locally and nationally, and I will continue to do all that I can to shout from the rooftops on behalf of UK steelmaking.”
Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: “Confirmation that Liberty have expressed an interest in acquiring Tata, and that a management buyout team have also submitted a bid is very welcome news.
“Securing the long-term future of jobs at Tata Steel in Corby is of paramount importance to us and these bids could result in that happening.”