Losses at Tata Steel's UK business are supposedly half the £1m that has been reported since the India steel conglomerate announced it would put the business up for sale.
Speaking on the BBC Today programme Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, home to Tata’s Port Talbot plant, said:
We need to start challenging that figure. It was something that emerged in the autumn. [Losses] have gone down by at least 50 per cent from what it was and is moving in the right direction. It’s a big challenge – no one is denying that – but there are opportunities for a fresh start.
Tata would not confirm the business was losing £500,000 per day but said the workers at the Port Talbot plant and other parts of Tata's UK business are "working very hard" to cut costs and make the business as attractive as possible to any potential buyers.
Tata confirmed it was in regular contact with Kinnock but could not say where he had got the information.
A spokesperson said:
We have never commented on publicly on the finances at Port Talbot or elsewhere, other than to say the losses are currently not sustainable.
The number was first reported in Autumn of last year and it has shrunk by 50 per cent it could give weight to management claims the business can be turned around.
Kinnock also welcomed interest in the business from chief executive of metals trader Liberty House's Sanjeev Gupta, who yesterday met with business secretary Sajid Javid to discuss plans for the Port Talbot plant.
Gupta has suggested in various interviews he would be interested in overhauling Port Talbots blast furnace to melt down and recycle scrap metal though has said it would be dependent on a deal with the government on taxes, including the carbon tax.
Javid is today flying out to Mumbai to meet with Tata executives where he is expected to urge Tata bosses to begin negotiations over the sale of the plant as soon as possible.
Javid also met yesterday with general secretary of steelworkers union Community Roy Rickhuss, who reiterated demands that the government prevents potential buyers from cherry picking parts of the Tata UK business.