The 1.3-billion-pound funding package for Britain’s biggest steel works includes a 750-million-pound investment from Tata to pay for the switch to lower-emission electric arc furnaces from the current coal-powered methods.
While Britain said Friday’s deal would help to safeguard 5,000 jobs, Tata Steel UK currently employs more than 8,000 people – raising the prospect of 3,000 redundancies as the lower-carbon electric furnaces are less labour intensive.
Business and trade minister Kemi Badenoch said the deal was the right thing for Britain and the overall workforce. “We are saving jobs which would have been lost… without this investment, we would probably have seen the end of steelmaking certainly in this part of the country,” she said.
India-owned Tata Steel had long warned that without government help, it could close the Port Talbot site. Britain said the new electric furnaces would cut the country’s total carbon emissions by around 1.5%. The UK government has been under pressure from businesses to help fund a transition to green energy. reuters