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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 March 2021

Nationalise Liberty Steel to save jobs

Port Talbot steelworks, photo Grubb (Creative Commons)

Port Talbot steelworks, photo Grubb (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Liberty Steel, employing 5,000 workers, mainly located in Rotherham, has gone bust. The government has rejected a 170 million bailout demand from its tycoon boss Sanjeev Gupta.

The demise of the steelmaking company follows the collapse of its principal backer Greensill Capital. It's reported that former Tory PM David Cameron acted as a paid adviser to Greensill and had lobbied the chancellor Rishi Sunak for coronavirus support loans.

This mix of big business and leading Tories gets murkier. According to the Times: "Lex Greensill, the owner of the finance firm, enriched himself through a government backed loan scheme he designed after Cameron gave him access to eleven departments and agencies".

As the recent scandal of government-backed secretive PPE contracts has revealed, handing over government keys to big business is no historic anachronism but a commonplace.

The trade unions should demand nationalisation of the ailing steel company to save jobs and working-class communities, along with a public, independent workers' inquiry into the Greensill/government funding arrangements.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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