UK govt, Tata Steel announce 9 mn pound support package

Tata SteelLONDON: The 1,200 Tata Steel workers in the UK facing job cuts have been thrown a lifeline with a 9 million pound support package put together by the British government and the Indian steel giant.

The government will provide 6 million pounds of the total 9 million pound package, the UK government and Tata Steel said in a joint statement, days after Britain’s biggest steelmaker announced the lay-off under a restructuring deal to cope with a “flood of cheap imports” mainly from China.

It will give 3 million pounds to match Tata Steel’s funds to provide support for more start-up businesses and companies that are looking to expand and create jobs.

In addition, it is separately providing up to 3 million pounds specifically for training of affected employees through local Further Education (FE) colleges to help the employees up-skill for the wider job market, according to the statement.

“Tata Steel’s regeneration arm UK Steel Enterprise has pledged 3 million pounds to support job creation in Scunthorpe, on top of 10 million pounds it has already earmarked to help regenerate UK steel communities over the next five years,” it said.

UK Steel Enterprise, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, has pledged 3 million pounds to support workers in Scunthorpe in the West Midlands region of England where its steel plant is to restructure.

“This is a very difficult time for the workforce, so it is important that the government and the company come together to support people and the local economy,” UK business secretary Sajid Javid announced here.

He said: “The government has no intention of simply standing aside whilst the steel industry faces global challenges on a scale unprecedented in recent years. We will do everything we can to help workers and to ensure a level- playing field for the industry.

“Tata Steel has a strong track record of creating jobs and supporting local communities right across the country, and its commitment to this package is to be commended.”

Tata Steel’s UK Steel Enterprise is also providing an additional 1.5 million pounds to support job creation in steel communities around its Dalzell and Clydebridge sites in Scotland.
The UK government says it is continuing discussions with the Scottish government about further support.

Karl Koehler, Chief Executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “I recognize this is a challenging time for the employees affected by the restructuring we announced.

“We are committed to doing everything in our power to support those impacted and through UK Steel Enterprise we will help create new jobs in the affected local communities.

“The UK steel industry is facing extremely challenging circumstances and we welcome the government’s pledge to match our funding package for those affected.”

The Indian steel major had confirmed a restructuring at its UK unit which will lead to 1,200 job losses.-PTI

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