Mr Kwarteng Warns of Danger over Liberty Steel Plants in UK
The Independent reported that UK’s Business Secretary Mr Kwasi Kwarteng has warned there is a danger that Liberty Steel could be forced to close some of its UK plants following the collapse of its main financial backer. Giving evidence to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Mr Kwarteng said “The firm has good assets that could be made to work. Its parent company, the GFG Alliance, needed to work through its plans to get new financing before there was any question of the Government intervening. I am very keen to see that these assets, which are good assets, continue to operate and the company continues to operate but we can’t strip Liberty Steel from the wider group under which it sits, as they have billions and billions of debt. “I think it can work but what I won’t rush into is giving any guarantees in this committee or in any other forum. It is a patient game. I won't rush to do into is giving any guarantees at this committee or any other forum. Let's see if he can refinance his businesses in the way that he said he would. There is always that danger. It is something that I speak to government officials about and even the Prime Minister I have spoken to about it.”
Asked what would happen if the business were to collapse, he stressed that the government would stand behind Liberty's workers and local management, but could not give any guarantees.
Mr Kwarteng again defended the Government’s decision to reject an appeal by GFG for a GBP 170million bailout, saying there was no assurance the money would have stayed in the UK. He said “We didn’t have those guarantees. It is a very opaque structure. As officials and ministers we have a responsibility to taxpayers not simply sign off USD 170million without any knowledge of where that money might ultimately go. I think we came to the right decision in that particular instance.”