Sunday 3 April 2016 8:57 am

Buy British steel, public sector told as tycoon Sanjeev Gupta flies in for talks with Tata and government

Local councils, the NHS and other public bodies have been told to "buy British" in a bid to save the UK's crisis-hit steel industry.

New rules introduced by the government last year that require central government to consider British steel suppliers for major projects will now be extended across the public sector.

They will need to consider responsible sourcing, the training suppliers give to their workforce, carbon footprints, protecting the health and safety of staff and the social integration of disadvantaged workers during contract procurement. They will also have to advertise so that UK firms can compete while the government will create a pool of approved steel suppliers to "ensure a level playing field".

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

The government estimates that around £300bn will be spent on infrastructure projects in the UK over the next five years.

"By changing the procurement rules on these major infrastructure projects we are backing the future of UK steel – opening up significant opportunities for UK suppliers and allowing them to compete more effectively with international companies," said business secretary Sajid Javid.

Tata last week announced it would sell its UK business putting thousands of jobs at risk. The government is now in crisis talks to save the business and the steel industry in the UK.

Read more: Steel: Save the people, but not the industry

Steel Tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, the founder of commodities firm Liberty House has emerged as a potential bidder for the business. He will fly in to the UK on Sunday to meet with the government and Tata to discuss potential plans.

“We would need a proper partnership with the government. I don’t know what that would entail at this stage. We’ve started the discussions… we are in the process of starting a discussion with Tata,” Gupta told the Sunday Telegraph.