David Cameron: No guarantee of Tata Steel rescue success

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption'We can see success here' - Cameron on Tata sale

Prime Minister David Cameron has said there is no guarantee government efforts to save the British steel industry will succeed.

The future of Tata Steel has been in doubt since it announced it would sell its loss-making UK business.

The UK government has said it would be willing to take a 25% stake in any takeover.

But the Business Department confirmed to BBC Wales that stake was only available to buyers, not Tata.

If Tata was to change its decision to sell its UK businesses, the government said it would look at what financial support, if any, was available.

As ministers searched for a buyer, Mr Cameron told Parliament on Wednesday: "There is no guarantee of success.

"While I want to do everything we can to secure the future, not only for Port Talbot but also for Scunthorpe and steelmaking in Britain, we're coping with a massive oversupply, a collapse in prices, from China."

However, he said if politicians "work hard", get a "proper sales process" and get behind the plan on a "bipartisan basis" the much hoped-for rescue could come off.

The prime minister visited the Port Talbot site on Tuesday to assure workers, unions and bosses of the government's commitment to supporting the future of steel-making.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Port Talbot is Tata Steel's biggest UK plant with about 4,000 workers

At least two potential buyers have shown interest in the business.

One option is a management buyout backed by the chief of Tata's Port Talbot factory, the UK's largest steel operation.

Steel company Liberty House, owned by Sanjeev Gupta, has also said it was interested in buying parts of the business.

Mr Cameron's comments came as Business Secretary Sajid Javid prepared to be questioned by MPs on the steel industry crisis.

He will appear before the Business Select Committee on Thursday.

Bimlendra Jha, chief executive of Tata, Gareth Stace of trade group UK Steel, and Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, will also appear before the committee.

Other witnesses will include Marc Meyohas of Greybull Capital, which is buying Tata's plant in Scunthorpe.

More on this story