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Struggling UK steelmakers to get state funding

The UK government is expected to offer hundreds of millions of pounds of support to help Britain’s two biggest steelmakers switch away from coal-fired blast furnaces and help with higher energy costs.

The BBC reports that £300 million (EUR 340 million) grants will be offered to both British Steel and Tata Steel UK later this week. This follows intervention from three UK trades unions which approached the Government in late January saying the industry was ‘a whisker away from collapse’. British Steel, which is owned by Chinese company Jingye, had also asked for support to prevent the closure of its blast furnace at Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire.

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told the BBC it was working closely with the steel industry to secure what it describes as ‘a sustainable and competitive future’. The BBC adds that sources at Tata Steel, the Indian-owned company which runs the UK’s largest steel plant in Port Talbot in South Wales, believe £300 million may not be enough to persuade it to make the vast investment needed, estimated at up to £3 billion.

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