British Steel

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:05 pm on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:05 pm, 24th July 2019

I am grateful for what the hon. Lady said about me personally.

I think it would be more disheartening if this process had concluded, as was the wide expectation eight weeks ago, with what happened in Redcar, as the Redcar mentioned, which was the more or less immediate closure of the plant. The fact that the process continues, far from being disheartening, is heartening in that there are several bidders that the official receiver and his agents are working with. It is absolutely vital that those discussions should continue for as long as they prove necessary. That is one of the reasons why my first act on the warning of the insolvency was to commit a Government indemnity to allow an orderly process to take place, and I very much hope it will.

I very much agree with the hon. Lady that having a sector deal with the steel sector is highly desirable. All the sector deals—colleagues have heard me launch different sector deals from this Dispatch Box—require investment by the industry and by the Government alongside each other. That is precisely what we want to do in this case. I hope that this will be a catalyst for the investment that allows such a deal to take place.