British Steel seeks a loan of up to £75m from government

Steel production is carried out

Steel production is carried out

GMB national officer, Ross Murdoch, said it was time for action and the Government, which, he said, was known to sit on its hands "while United Kingdom manufacturing collapses round its ears" must take action and guarantee the loan needed to safeguard British Steel.

The company, which employs 4,500 staff mostly at its Scunthorpe steelworks, confirmed it had asked for more cash on top of a £120m loan negotiated with ministers last week to cover its bills for an European Union climate credits scheme.

Gill Furniss, the shadow business minister, said: "The government's continued failure to support this vital industry is to blame".

British Steel employs thousands, mainly at Scunthorpe, but has smaller plants in the North East, and as many as 20,000 are employed indirectly through its supply chain.

The GMB union called on the government to guarantee the future of the firm and safeguard thousands of jobs.

British Steel revealed it is in discussions with its stakeholders on how to navigate its current situation.

It has blamed its predicament on orders drying up because of the Brexit impasse as well as the weakness of sterling and tensions between China and the United States over steel tariffs.

According to Sky News, British Steel is seeking a further £75m loan from the government, with insolvency experts placed on standby in case further funds can not be secured.

Ross Murdoch, national officer of the GMB union, said: 'This Government has a track record of sitting on its hands while United Kingdom manufacturing collapses round its ears.

"Now is the time to take action - ministers must come out and guarantee the loan required to safeguard British Steel".

Unite national officer Tony Brady said: 'The workforce of British Steel worked tirelessly to secure the steelmaker's future during the hard times, and given a fighting chance will do so again.

"The British public should not be forced to subsidise failing, heavily polluting businesses like British Steel", he said.

If British Steel is unable to secure the additional funding it needs, it could be forced into bankruptcy, although a management buy-out or even re-nationalisation are also being suggested as possible outcomes.

Nic Dakin, the Labour MP for Scunthorpe, said: "The complete mess the government has made of leaving the European Union is putting jobs and livelihoods at risk in our area".

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