The three most important things Sajid Javid said about steel on the BBC's Andrew Marr show

 
Lynsey Barber
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Javid did not rule out nationalisation (Source: BBC)

Business minister Sajid Javid has appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning to defend the government's handling of the steel crisis. Here are the three most important things he said during the interview.

1. A private buyer is best, but privatisation not ruled out

Javid insisted a private buyer for Port Talbot and the rest of Tata's UK business is the best option, but said nationalisation is not off the table.

"The best steel companies in the world are privately run" he told the BBC, adding that nationalisation "is rarely the answer" but nothing would be ruled out at this stage.

2. He didn't realise Tata would "go that far"

"We've known about this kind of potential announcement for a while... The strength of the announcement and how far they went, particularly in terms of timing, and what they said about timing, was much further than we expected."

Business secretary Sajid Javid on Tata's decision to sell its UK steel business

"We've known about this kind of potential announcement for a while" said the business secretary, who has been criticised for being on a trip to Australia when the decision to sell was announced last week.

​"A few weeks ago, Tata had informed us they were reviewing their entire steel business in the UK," he revealed.

"Of course this was all behind the scenes, it's all very commercially sensitive, we couldn't say anything ... [when I first heard this] was to work with Tata, whether in India or the UK, and convince them that it's not in their interests, as a responsible company, it's certainly not in our interests, and to allow an open sales process, and that's what we managed to achieve."

While it was known that the Tata AGM, where the announcement was made, was "an important one" the government did not anticipate "that they would go that far" Javid told the show.

Read more: Buy British steel, government tells public sector

"The strength of the announcement and how far they went, particularly in terms of timing, and what they said about timing, at the time, was much further than we expected."

3. The three Ps

“They're going to want to look at plants, they're going to want to look at pensions and they're going to want to look at power supply,”

Business secretary Said Javid on a potential buyer for Tata Steel in the UK

That's plant, power and pensions.

“They're going to want to look at plants, they're going to want to look at pensions and they're going to want to look at power supply,” said Javid discussing a potential buyer.

Pensions "are a potential challenge" Javid admitted. There ae £15bn worth of liabilities, however, he did not indicate the government's position on taking that on.

Read more: Four things that could happen to Tata steelworks next

The UK's heavy industry has been compensated for higher tariffs related to green policies, but plans are already in progress for total exemption. Javid said more could be done specifically in relation to Port Talbot and that any potential buyer would look for "movement" in this area.

Meanwhile, on the subject of business rates, he said it was up to the Welsh parliament, and that there were more targeted approaches which would work better,

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