Steel crisis: Sajid Javid to fly to Mumbai to meet Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry over sell-off

Business Secretary faced criticism for flying to Australia on the day the crisis surfaced

Caroline Mortimer
Monday 04 April 2016 23:50
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Union leaders met in London on Monday to discuss how to save 15,000 jobs
Union leaders met in London on Monday to discuss how to save 15,000 jobs

Business Secretary Sajid Javid will fly to Mumbai to meet Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry over the sale of most of the UK’s steel operations.

Around 15,000 jobs across the country are at risk, with the union responsible for the workers, Community, holding a meeting in London on Monday for staff representing all the affected plants across the UK.

But amid criticism of Mr Javid's response to the crisis, he revealed he would be travelling to India on Tuesday, writing on Twitter: "I will travel to Mumbai later tomorrow to discuss details of the UK #steel sales process with Tata Chairman Cyrus Mistry."

He and Chancellor George Osborne were also due to hold a meeting with Welsh First Minister Carwen Jones in Downing Street on Tuesday morning.

Mr Javid has come under intense scrutiny after he went on a trade mission to Australia on the day the Indian conglomerate announced plans to sell its UK steel plants.

He admitted he had been warned about a possible sale "a few weeks ago" but said on the Andrew Marr show he did not "anticipate they would go that far".

Union leaders have called for his dismissal, claiming he had “taken his eye off the ball”.

After a visit to the Port Talbot plant on Friday - following a hurried early flight home from Australia - he wrote a letter to MPs blaming the crisis on a “perfect storm of market conditions” within the steel industry.

He said it was “an international problem” that required “an international response” but nationalisation was unlikely to be a “viable solution”.

It comes after Jeremy Corbyn launched a petition calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to “act to protect our steel industry”.

The petition has now attracted nearly 150,000 signatures.

The Government has been critcised for failing to stop the increase in the number of cheap Chinese steel imports which have flooded the market in recent years.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron had "raised concerns" about the steel crisis with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and said the two countries need to work together to tackle the "over-capacity" of steel in the international market.

It comes asfter China announced it planned to impose more tariffs on steel imports from the EU, ranging from 14.5 per cent to 46.3 per cent.

Additional reporting by PA

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