[Image: Getty.]

[Image: Getty.]

Anybody wondering why Tata is not being held to all of its obligations, having decided to pull out of the UK, should remember that the Conservative Government is a corporate poodle.

Did you know that the Serious Fraud Office is investigating a subsidiary of Tata Steel? Perhaps the company is hoping the inquiry will go away amidst the threat of job losses and the demise of the UK steel industry.

The extent of the Tories’ misreading of the situation is evident from the fact that they only recently began working to save UK steel production, having had it pointed out to them (one presumes) that without the ability to fabricate the metal ourselves, we would be at the mercy of those who retained it.

A plan already exists to bring the industry back into profitability – possibly as soon as later this year – although this has been hidden because the spectre of £1 million-a-day losses is so much more emotive.

These are all matters that the Conservatives, and in particular business minister Sajid Javid, have fumbled.

This Writer is hoping the management buy-out comes to fruition. It would keep steel in the UK and put it in the hands of people who understand it.

I would have preferred a workers’ co-operative… but perhaps that will be the next chapter in this extraordinary story.

From the moment that Tata announced its decision to divest from the UK, the UK Government should have insisted that Tata Group met the entirety of its liabilities, providing, if necessary, an ‘exit dowry’.

The British Government has singularly failed so far to hold Tata to account.  Indeed there has been almost an air of gratitude for the company’s decision to delay committing, as it originally intended, the act of industrial vandalism that switching off the blast furnaces would have constituted.

Instead the British Government has signalled its willingness to subsume some or all of these debts in order to sweeten the pill for any prospective buyer.

Yet the wider Tata Group has unlimited liability for the pension deficit as the Pension Regulator has the power to seize assets, even overseas if necessary.

While the environmental liability, maybe worth as much as £750 million at Port Talbot alone, does lie with Tata Steel UK Ltd, Tata Group owns 30% of the company and the reputational damage of using bankruptcy to walk away from its responsibilities on such a scale would be unprecedented.

Source: The government has failed to hold Tata to account over Port Talbot

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