Their auditors have resigned, there is an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and the promised 2,000 jobs are nowhere to be seen. Their owners have warned that the plants may, in fact, shut. Does the Government regret ignoring warnings from its own economic advisers about doing deals with GFG Alliance, the owners of the Lochaber smelter and the Lanarkshire steel mills?
The Government’s intentions were clear. We were taking those steps to try to protect employment. There are families who are employed in the Dalzell steelworks and at the Lochaber smelter today who would not be employed if the Government had not helped in that way that we did.
We are trying to ensure that we support employment in our society. There are commitments that GFG has to make to the Government. Those commitments are being delivered on in relation to the payments that are required as part of the financial arrangements that are in place. The Government will continue to monitor those issues and respond to any issues that are raised in Parliament.
I do not think that I am at liberty to respond in detail to that question, but I will take advice and, if I am at liberty to do so, I will respond further to Mr Halcro Johnston in writing.
With everything that has happened recently, there is a clear risk that GFG and Gupta’s financial empire will collapse. What is the total liability to the public purse if that were to come to pass?
That is a difficult factor to calculate, given the various scenarios that could take place, but I reassure Mr Johnson that the Government has in place arrangements that ensure that all of the payments that are required to be made to the Government are up to date and the asset value of the Lochaber venture is in excess of any liability that could be created in the scenario that Mr Johnson raises in relation to that individual site.