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British Steel seeking government help

High-ranking officials in the United Kingdom government are reportedly urging that nation’s treasury provide about $360 million in funding to British Steel so the company can keep its furnaces in northern England operating.
British Steel, which is owned by the China-based Jingye Group, has reportedly been requesting government loans or funding ever since COVID-19 restrictions caused a severe disruption in steel demand in 2020. That circumstance was preceded by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “hard Brexit” from the European Union on Feb. 1, 2020.
Dec. 31, 2022, Sky News online news item says two U.K. ministers, Grant Shapps and Michael Gove, have been urging U.K. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to approve the decision to provide funding to the steelmaker.
According to the media outlet, the option is favored in part to protect the jobs and viability of the mill and because “the demise of British Steel could cost the government up to 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion) in decommissioning and other liabilities.”
The letter to Hunt also cites the need to maintain domestic steel production in the U.K. and mentions British Steel’s desire to invest in decarbonization efforts, according to Sky News, which says it has seen the letter.
The online news report says Hunt has not yet reached a decision on the request. He is being urged to do so before Jingye and British Steel idle one of the two blast furnaces in Scunthorpe, which the company is reportedly considering as a cost-cutting measure in January.

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