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British Steel jobs at risk in Wolverhampton after Government talks fail

By John Corser | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

More than 30 jobs are at risk in Wolverhampton after British Steel entered liquidation.

British Steel is going into official receivership

British Steel is going into official receivership after talks with the Government failed, leaving the future uncertain for its 5,000 employees and 20,000 workers in its supply chains.

The vast majority of British Steel staff are among the 4,000 based in Scunthorpe but 35 are employed at Wolverhampton Metal Centre in Qualcast Road, Horseley Fields.

WATCH: Steel decline in numbers

The huge site is British Steel's most central distribution site and holds stock for delivery across a 100-mile radius including Bristol and Wales.

Workers at the company's plants face weeks of uncertainty as efforts are made to rescue the business.

'Dire consequences'

British Steel owner Greybull Capital had been seeking financial support from the Government, saying it faced a number of Brexit-related issues.

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"British Steel going into insolvency will have dire consequences to the UK, especially in areas like the Black Country," said Black Country Chamber of Commerce chief executive Corin Crane.

"No excuses about state aid – we need to do everything in our power to protect the industry and the jobs.

(PA Graphics)

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Chris Plant, director of the Birmingham Chamber Group said: "Many chamber businesses will be concerned about the potential impact of British Steel entering insolvency, particularly those in their supply chain who will be directly and deeply affected.

"The company’s operations are at the centre of many local communities, generating thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Failure to find a buyer would be devastating to many areas which rely so strongly on this industry.

"Small and medium-sized suppliers and contractors must be at the forefront of the Official Receiver’s mind throughout this process.”

'Absolutely devastating'

Rebecca Long Bailey,, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said: "This is absolutely devastating news for the thousands of workers, their families and the communities in Scunthorpe and Teesside and those throughout the supply chain.

“The Tories’ legacy will once again be industrial decline whilst they endlessly squabble over the European Union.

Wolverhampton Metal Centre in Qualcast Road

“The Government must act quickly to save this strategically important industry and the livelihoods and communities of those who work in it, by bringing British Steel into public ownership.’’

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: "This news will be causing tremendous anxiety for thousands of workers, especially in Scunthorpe.

"The Government must now do everything possible to protect jobs at British Steel and in its supply chains. All options must be considered, including public ownership. Britain simply cannot afford to lose such an important player to our manufacturing sector."

The current British Steel was created when Greybull Capital bought the Long Products Europe business of Tata Steel, including the Scunthorpe Plant, in June 2016. It was part of Anglo-Dutch steel group Corus before being bought by Tata.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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