Live news: Dutch PM travels to US to discuss China's tech export ban

Live news: Dutch PM travels to US to discuss China’s tech export ban

Liberty Steel’s Aldewerke mill in Rotherham, England © Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel will cut production and idle some of its smaller UK plants in a radical restructuring that could lead to the shedding of more than 400 jobs.

The company, which is part of Gupta’s GFG Alliance conglomerate, said it will focus on its “high-value alloy steel production” at Rotherham, Stockbridge and Brinsworth in Yorkshire.

Production at the Rotherham electric arc furnace will be reduced and replaced with imports from abroad. High energy costs were making commodity production uncompetitive, the company said.

Operations at West Bromwich will be idled, with its steel activities in Newport, in south Wales, suspended and the site turned into a warehousing, distribution and trading hub.

The actions, which Liberty blamed on “serious competitiveness issues,” “can potentially affect up to 440 roles across the business,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The cuts are the latest to hit the struggling industry, which has warned about its future amid rising energy costs.

Alun Davies, national officer for the community steelworkers union, said the news was a “blow to Liberty Steel’s loyal UK workforce, who could not have done more to help the company through an exceptionally challenging period. “.

Jonathan Reynolds, Labor’s shadow business secretary, said the news was “devastating” for steelworkers and their communities.

“The endless band-aids from the Conservatives have left our UK steel sector on the edge of the abyss,” he said.

Separately, UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is considering bailing out two blast furnaces owned by British Steel from taxpayers. Under the proposal, the government would subsidize the Chinese-owned company £300m to keep the kilns open.

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