Business secretary Sajid Javid will say at a summit on Friay (16 October) that there is no 'magic bullet' when it comes to solving problems in the steel industry. He promised, however, that the government will work hard to prevent big job losses and a deeper crisis in the industry.
Steel workers unions, trade bodies and ministers are set to meet in Rotherham to discuss the crisis in the industry. The summit, chaired by Javid, comes after the Telegraph reported that Tata Steel might cut 1,000 jobs
The Tata Steel forged axe is expected to fall in its Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire plant, although the firm has not confirmed any job cuts yet. Around 1,700 steel workers jobs were already cut earlier in October, when it was announced the Redcar Steelplant, operated by SSI UK, would officially close.
"This is a hugely difficult time for the steel industry across the world – one of the toughest times ever," Javid is expected to say. "It is a worldwide problem, and while it will not be solved overnight, we will work closely in partnership with the industry to help find some answers."
Steel is one of the many metals that have lost huge proportions of their value, largely because of falling demand. Commodity firms worldwide are suffering from the falling prices.
Gary Klesch, the boss of metals trader Klesch Group, was set to buy the plant in Scunthorpe, but said that the falling Chinese demand and higher energy costs made it an unappealing offer.
Klesch blamed the government for not helping the thousands of steel workers in the plant. SSI UK, who owned the Redcar operations, also called on the government to save the workers' jobs. The firm was forced to go into liquidation instead but no potential buyer was found in time to save the 1,700 jobs.
"There is no magic bullet and we can't change the price of steel, but we can forensically work through all of the challenges we know the industry is facing to see what solutions there might be," the business secretary will say. "We will also continue to do everything we can to support workers and to continue building a strong economy across the country."