Coronavirus: Tata Steel 'needs £500m government support'

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Tata Steel in Port TalbotImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Tata Steel runs the UK's largest steel works in Port Talbot

Tata Steel needs about £500m of government support to get through the coronavirus pandemic, the MP for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock has said.

Tata employs 8,385 people in the UK, including about 4,000 people in Port Talbot and 2,800 elsewhere in Wales.

Sky News has reported Tata has approached the UK and Welsh governments for the money after many customers halted production during the crisis.

The company said it was working with both governments to identify support.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We continue to have ongoing discussions with Tata Steel about what support it needs to sustain a strong steel making presence in the UK and in Wales."

A UK government spokesman said: "The government has put together a far-reaching package of support to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

"We continue to regularly engage with businesses across all sectors, including those in the steel industry."

Stephen Kinnock said the limit on the UK government's Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) needed to be raised above £50m.

"The £50m cap on loans that are now available under the government support scheme is only about 10% of what Tata Steel actually needs," he said.

"Tata Steel estimates that it will take around six months to get back to business as usual, or as close as possible to it and the challenge they have is cashflow over that six month period.

"And the estimation is in the region of £500m."

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He raised the matter in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Responding to him, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said: "I know that the chancellor is looking carefully at the steel sector in the hon. gentleman's constituency, and at all those who are not directly benefitting from this particular scheme to ensure that in the round we are providing the measures that we need in a targeted way to support all the different crucial elements of the economy."

A Tata Steel spokesman said there been a sudden drop in European steel demand, adding: "We continue to work with both the UK and Welsh governments to identify what support is available."