THE future of hundreds of North-East British Steel workers remained uncertain last night despite the firm securing funds to stay afloat until the end of May.

Union officials have spent the last few days 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 the firm is seeking a multimillion-pound loan to secure its future.

Although the firm has avoided state intervention in the latest round of talks, insiders believe the money secured is only a temporary fix, and the long term future of the company is still unclear.

Redcar MP Anna Turley said British Steel now had a "fighting chance", but warned a proper strategy is needed for the industry.

She said: “I am pleased Greybull have been able to secure the money needed to give British Steel a fighting chance and this will come as a relief to the 700 workers and their families on Teesside.

“But, whilst this is positive news, it does not absolve the government of a need to act. We must have a proper strategy for steel with a sector deal, putting in place the level playing field on issues like business rates and energy costs – the things the industry has been asking for over many years now.

“We cannot keep lurching from crisis to crisis like this. Steel is a key industry underpinning British manufacturing and supports thousands of jobs. It must be supported to thrive.”

The Northern Echo:

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Every single minister I have spoken to this week knows that my one and only priority is ensuring jobs are protected in Lackenby and Skinningrove – the two plants are British Steel’s most profitable operations and they need to be protected.

“I’ll be continuing my discussions with ministers, officials and the company today and over the weekend to ensure there’s a long-term solution in place.”

The Northern Echo:

A British Steel spokeswoman said: “British Steel has the backing of its key stakeholders, including shareholders and lenders, and operations continue as normal.

“As the business navigates the significant uncertainties caused by Brexit, and explores options to strengthen the business for the long term, we are pleased to confirm that we have the required liquidity while we work towards a permanent solution."