UK government mulls supporting Liberty ‘in its entirety’

Westminster is looking at supporting Liberty Steel in England and Wales “in its entirety”, UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Pressed by some members of parliament on how much government ministers knew about Liberty lender Greensill Capital’s financial situation before its collapse, Kwarteng said an investigation is now under way, Kallanish notes.

In terms of government intervention in Liberty, “it is not appropriate now, given where we are, to disclose anything of that kind, but of course this is an ongoing situation that we’re monitoring very closely”, the business secretary said. However, he later added that Liberty has many units spread across England and Wales and “we’re looking very closely at what specific assets, what specific jobs are necessary, and we hope to support the company in its entirety”.

Kwarteng stressed there is a future for UK steel. The government’s plans will require around 5 million tonnes of steel in the next decade, and it “absolutely a commitment of mine” to ensure the UK has a viable steel industry to support this demand, he added. He refused, however, to be draw in to revealing specifics on what commitments the government had made to ensure local content in UK projects.

In terms of uncompetitive energy prices, Kwarteng said work had been commissioned to tackle this issue and that he is in contact with the UK Chancellor to see what can be done to address this problem.

Adam Smith Germany