Prime minister David Cameron says "nationalisation not the answer" to steel crisis

Jessica Morris
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Ministers are meeting to agree a response to Tata (Source: Getty)

Prime minister David Cameron said today that nationalisation isn't the answer to a deepening crisis in the UK steel industry.

He said "we're not ruling anything out" when asked if the government was ruling out nationalisation in the long-term.

"I don't believe nationalisation is the right answer. What we want to do is secure a long term future for Port Talbot and for other steelmaking plants in the United Kingdom."

Read more: Writings on the wall for the British steel industry

"This is a difficult situation. There is no guarantee of success."

It comes after an emergency meeting between ministers over Tata's plans to sell its UK assets, with think tank IPPR estimating 40,000 jobs could be lost if a buyer is not found.

Earlier today, pressure mounted on the government to take steps that will ensure the embattled industry's future.

Speaking to Sky News about the government's response to the escalating crisis, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, whose South Wales constituency of Aberavon includes Port Talbot, said: "It's a total shambles, and it's been a shambles for years."

"Why is it that the Prime Minister seems to be reacting to this as if he didn't see it coming. They're in total disarray," Kinnock added.

Read more: Tata Steel plant closure could lead to 40,000 job losses

Len McCluskey, head of the Unite union, told the Today Programme that Cameron should take "personal responsibility" for the steel crisis and recall parliament.

"It’s absolutely essential that a foundation industry like steel is protected in order that we can have the much-vaunted march of the makers that the government talks about," he said.

The Port Talbot site, which employs 5,500 people, is thought to be losing £1m a day.