London: British Prime Minister David Cameron today assured the nation that his government is "doing everything it can" to save thousands of jobs in the crisis-hit steel industry but warned there were "no guarantees of success" after India's steel giant Tata Steel decided to sell its loss-making UK businesses.
Speaking to reporters after chairing a crisis meeting with Cabinet ministers, Cameron said the threat of thousands of job losses was "very difficult" and that the government would do "everything it can" but warned there were "no guarantees of success".
Cameron, who cut short his Easter break in Spain and rushed to London, said nationalisation was not the answer but the government was "not ruling anything out".
Tata Steel, one of the flagships of the over USD 100-billion Indian conglomerate Tata Group, said it has decided to "explore all options for for portfolio restructuring including the potential divestment of Tata Steel UK, in whole or in parts" amid a "deteriorating financial performance of the UK subsidiary in the last 12 months".
The Board of Tata Steel decided on Tuesday to decide on the future course of action in a bid to steer its embattled operations in Europe out of the rut, which face supply glut, increase in cheap imports from China amidst a continued weakness in demand in the European markets.
Ministers are under pressure to secure the future of the threatened plants owned by Tata Steel.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the government should "bring forward the support that was expected in this budget and didn't happen" about reducing business rates, which he said were "five to seven times" higher in the UK than Europe.
Labour Party has urged ministers to "get a grip" and act now to help the steel industry.
It is understood the government wants reassurance Tata Steel will not close its plants before a buyer is found, the BBC reported.
Tata Steel's UK business - which directly employs 15,000 workers and supports thousands of others - includes plants in Port Talbot, Rotherham, Corby and Shotton.
The Port Talbot plant - which employs 5,500 people - is said to be losing one million pounds a day.
Talk of nationalising the works has been downplayed but the government, which says it is considering "all options", may offer to help to engineer a sale.
"There was anxiety in government that Tata Group, the plants' Indian parent firm, wants to shut down its plants rather than sell them to a competitor, and ministers have been unable to secure a promise from the firm over how long it will allow the plants to remain open," the report said.
The options open to the government include a "mystery buyer" coming forward, a workforce buyout which would cost about 300 million pounds, mothballing the plant, nationalisation or allowing the plant to close, it said.