UNCERTAINTY surrounds the future of hundreds of North-East workers as talks continue over the future of British Steel.

Union officials are urging the Government to guarantee the future of the company and safeguard thousands of jobs, including 700 across sites in Lackenby and Skinningrove, amid suggestions that the company is seeking a multimillion-pound loan to secure its future.

In the House of Commons today, Prime Minister Theresa May said she could not comment on the specific details of the talks, but that the Government is committed to the success of British Steel.

Bosses at the firm said uncertainties around Brexit are posing challenges for all businesses, and they were holding constructive discussions with stakeholders on how to navigate them.

Simon Clarke, Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland MP, said: “We all know the crucial importance of the special profiles business to the East Cleveland economy. It’s a great plant staffed by highly skilled and dedicated workers, and works hand-in-glove with the Caterpillar factory next door.

“I have arranged to speak to Ministers to re-emphasise the importance of delivering certainty about the future as quickly as possible."

Redcar MP Anna Turley said: "The steel industry is a crucial part of the economy, underpinning other important sectors like automotive and construction, and supporting thousands of jobs.

“Whilst UK steelmakers have bounced back after the 2015 crisis and remain competitive, their efforts are undermined by a failure of government to act to create the level playing field the industry needs to thrive.

“British Steel is now feeling the consequences of that failure, and of Conservative brinkmanship on Brexit. The government cannot turn its face away and must step in to help to ensure no other town has to face the tragedy that Redcar went through.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “In the past 24 hours I’ve spoken to the Secretary of State for Business, the chief executive of British Steel and numerous Government officials about the situation. I could not have been clearer that Teesside jobs need to be safeguarded and that Government needs step up and do all can to support the company. I’m confident there will be a positive solution in the coming days.”

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald added: "The threat hanging over Lackenby and Skinningrove Steel works is a real worry for hundreds of workers and their families and the other businesses and staff who depend upon them.

"We were all relieved that the Government were supporting the company by way of a loan for them to meet their bills, but the concern now is that it isn’t enough and further help is needed.

"These are world class plants and they are integral and critical parts of our nation’s core industry capability. Both are key to the employment and wider economic impact on Teesside."