London: British Steel Ltd has been ordered into liquidation as it struggles with industry-wide troubles and Brexit, threatening 5,000 workers and another 20,000 jobs in the supply chain. The company had asked for a package of support to tackle issues related to Britain’s pending departure from the European Union.

Talks with the government failed to secure a bailout, and the Insolvency Service announced the liquidation on Wednesday.
“The immediate priority following my appointment as liquidator of British Steel is to continue safe operation of the site,” said David Chapman, the official receiver, referring to the Scunthorpe plant in northeast England.

It will continue to trade and supply its customers while Chapman considers options for the business.  A team from financial firm EY will work with the receiver and all parties to “secure a solution.” “To this end they have commenced a sale process to identify a purchaser for the businesses,” EY said.

The government said it had done all it could for the company, including providing a 120 million pound (USD 152 million) bridging facility to help meet emission trading compliance costs. Going further would not be lawful as it could be considered illegal state aid, Business Secretary Greg Clark said. “I have been advised that it would be unlawful to provide a guarantee or loan on the terms of any proposals that the company or any other party has made,” he said.