Steel production in the UK could disappear because David Cameron doesn’t want to nationalise it.
His ideological opposition to state ownership of anything could end the jobs of 40,000 skilled steel workers, but that’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make – it seems – because he won’t be affected.
Of course, if he can find a buyer, then he might escape the wrath of most UK voters when the May elections take place.
What’s the betting he’ll turn to the Chinese?
David Cameron has said the government is “doing everything it can” to resolve the steel crisis, but said nationalisation is not the right answer.
The prime minister was speaking after a meeting of ministers at Downing Street over the crisis surrounding Tata Steel’s British operations.
The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, had called on the government to “get a grip” after Cameron began emergency discussions on the issue.
McDonnell reiterated Labour’s call for a temporary nationalisation of the Indian-owned company’s UK plants and said Cameron should swiftly come up with a plan to save an estimated 40,000 jobs, one on which he could get cross-party consensus.
“The prime minister could take a lead in this. The government’s been in a bit of disarray over the last 48 hours,” McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, noting that the junior business minister Anna Soubry had hinted at possible nationalisation before the business secretary, Sajid Javid, ruled it out.
Cameron returned from holiday in Lanzarote on Wednesday, while Javid was flying back from Australia after Tata announced it would be selling off British plants including the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales as well as sites at Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Corby in Northamptonshire and Shotton in Deeside.
The company said it was losing £1m a day, with a source claiming that the government’s failure to back calls in Europe for higher tariffs against cheap Chinese imports was the last straw.
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