Tata Steel’s plans to sell its U.K. operations, including the country’s biggest steel plant in Port Talbot, South Wales, are causing a political storm.
Amid falling global steel prices, the Indian company’s move puts some 15,000 jobs at risk in the country. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his Easter break on Thursday to hold an emergency meeting on the topic.
“We’re going to work very hard with the company to do everything we can, but it is a difficult situation, there can be no guarantees of success because of the problems that the steel industry faces worldwide,” Cameron said.
“We’re not ruling anything out, (but) I don’t believe nationalisation is the right answer.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also cut short his break to head to Port Talbot. A petition he launched urging the government to recall MPs to tackle the crisis has passed 100,000 signatures.
“If we don’t intervene to protect this steel works and protect the other steel works, we will have no steel industry in Britain,” Corbain said during his visit.
Critics say the government failed to protect the British steel industry from cheap Chinese imports, which have more than doubled in two years. Brexit supporters also say EU rules on state aid limit the options Britain can take to save its plants.