Higginson contacts Tata Steel over sale plans for local plant

Brian Higginson UKIPs Candidate for Lagan Valley
Brian Higginson UKIPs Candidate for Lagan Valley

UKIPs Assembly candidate for Lagan Valley, Brian Higginson, has contacted Tata Steel to find out how restructuring or sale plans will affect their operation in Lisburn.

The current crisis engulfing Britain’s steel industry has thrown into doubt the future of 40,000 UK jobs, with Tata Steel UK having been put up for sale by its Indian parent company last week.

The Lisburn plant on the Moira Road has 72 employees, for which a Tata Steel spokesperson said it was “business as usual” at present.

“Tata have told me that their Lisburn operation has 72 employees and that they are hopeful that the sale of that operation, which has been in negotiation since last year, and which is separate to the sale of Tata nationally will be completed,” Mr Higginson said.

“I am seeking a meeting with Tata and clearly my objective is to find out how safe the jobs in Lisburn are.

“The big story here is that EU membership is stopping the UK Government from stepping in to help Tata Steel with a national buy-out,” he said.

“UKIP believes it is critical that any government protects a strategic industry like steel but EU competition rules are preventing the Government from acting effectively,” he added.

The sale of the local plant, which is part of the Long Products Europe business, is at an “advanced stage” with buyer Greybull Capital.

The spokesman added that the company remained “hopeful” the deal would be successfully completed in the near future.

The Ireland Service Centre at Lisburn provides a wide product and service offering. It processes Tata Steel’s full range of both flat and long products from the same facility.

The combination of local processing capability and an extensive range of stock ensures a flexible and responsive service to Tata Steel’s customers.