The U.K. steel industry, which supports thousands of jobs, is "a whisker away from collapse," the Unite union says. BBC News reports the union has written a letter to U.K. Business Secretary Grant Shapps seeking an urgent meeting to push for more support.
Unite has accused the government of taking "little meaningful action" to help the industry, leaving the sector "at breaking point." The government said the success of the steel industry is a priority.
In the letter, Steve Turner, Unite's assistant general secretary, said there were a number of issues causing the industry problems. These included "crippling energy costs, carbon taxes, lost markets, lower demand, and open market access for imported steel."
Writing to Shapps on behalf of two other unions as well — Community and GMB — Turner said the challenges faced by manufacturers like British Steel, Tata Steel, and Liberty Steel were the consequences of "direct actions by your government that have... significantly undermined U.K. plant competitiveness in global markets."
It has been reported that the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is poised to grant a £300m funding package for British Steel. The money has not been confirmed by the Treasury, but the BBC understands it would depend on the firm's Chinese owners, Jingye, investing in greener technology.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.