David Cameron has killed hopes of taking Tata Steel's UK business into public hands after an emergency meeting in Number 10 on the morning of 31 March. The prime minister declared nationalisation "is not the answer" after discussing the future of the Port Talbot plant in South Wales.
The announcement comes a day after business minister Anna Soubry revealed the government was exploring all options after Indian conglomerate Tata revealed it is to sell its entire business in the UK, putting around 15,000 jobs at risk.
But Britain's largest union, Unite, has called on the government to buy the loss-making business from Tata.
"We are now in the grip of an industrial crisis. Decisions taken in the days to come will determine not just the futures of 19,000 workers and their families, across 14 sites, but the very success of this government's own economic programme," said Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite.
"This is the time for the government to say categorically, without hesitation, that these assets will be taken into safe-keeping by the nation because without them our economy will not flourish. We are already seeing jobs going in the supply chain because of the uncertainty over Tata's future – our fear is this will snowball if insecurity is allowed to swirl around our steel sector."