Tata Steel to sell northern England plan to give it “best chance of survival“

Tata Steel intends to sell its plant in northern England in order to give it the "best chance of survival" as the UK industry had been struggling under a flood of cheap steel being pumped in from China, which had depressed prices.

The Sunday Times reported, the Indian steel giant hoped its Scunthorpe plant in North Lincolnshire would be sold by April next year. The steel giant was considering the closure of its long-products arm, of which Scunthorpe formed the core.

The newspaper reported earlier that a plan to sell it to US industrial tycoon Gary Klesch collapsed in the summer.

Various bidders are believed to have evinced interest and there was a possibility of a management buyout as well.

Meanwhile, the UK's Department for Business was understood to be looking to attract buyers with a promise of long-term supply contracts, which included a deal to feed Network Rail with steel for its multi-billion-pound overhaul of the railways.

However, according to the report, the chances of a rescue that would keep open Scunthorpe's two blast furnaces preserving the site as one of just two in the UK capable of turning iron ore into steel are said to be slim.

That could mean Scunthorpe was reduced to a finishing site for steel shipped in from abroad.