Following on from today's announcement that Chinese steelmaker Jingye Group has, in principle, agreed to acquire British Steel, Gareth Stace, director-general of UK Steel has described the news as 'positive'.

“British Steel’s production facilities in Scunthorpe and elsewhere in the North East represent one third of the UK’s steel production and are a major strategic asset to our country; their loss would leave our manufacturing, construction and infrastructure capability in a considerably poorer state," said Stace.

“While there remains much work still to be done, today’s announcement is a huge hurdle overcome on the way to delivering a sustainable future for this cornerstone of British industry. A commitment to long-term investment and production in the UK is absolutely essential and naturally must sit at the heart of any purchase that now goes ahead. Government support will be critical in helping to deliver this and its efforts and interventions already provided to date are to be much welcomed.

“However, we must not lose sight of the longer term picture for the whole steel sector just as we see light at the end of this particular tunnel. It is vital we move on from the current reactive approach, to one in which a shared, long-term strategic vision sits front and centre. Today we have launched an ambitious new manifesto for the UK steel sector that does just that. We urge politicians of every stripe to take note and take action.

“The UK steel sector has a potentially bright future, underpinned by increasing UK and global demand for our products, but government must recognise the need to address the business environment in the UK which currently undermines our competitiveness; not least the chronic uncertainty around Brexit. The steel industry is ready to invest in its future in the UK, all it requires is a partnership with government to help deliver a level playing field that can unlock its potential.”