THE Chinese ambassador to the UK has offered his congratulations to UK politicians including the Tees Valley Mayor after it was last night confirmed that a Chinese firm had bought loss-making British Steel. 

On social media, Liu Xiaoming praised Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen after the deal, potentially saving up to 4,000 jobs across the country, was reportedly completed by Chinese firm Jingye.

In response, Mr Houchen said the "real thanks" should go to the workers who had remained committed and carried on doing a "brilliant job" at the Lackenby Steelworks site despite months of uncertainty for them and their families. 

Mr Xiaoming who has served in his role on behalf of the Chinese government since 2010 also claimed the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark was the "unsung" hero in striking a deal.

On Monday (November 11), the Insolvency Service confirmed that Jingye Steel (UK ) Ltd and Jingye Steel (UK) Holiding Ltd forming Jingye had entered a sales contract with British Steel Limited.

As part of the deal British Steel's Lackenby works at Redcar, which employs 800 jobs, was sold along with the Scunthorpe and Skinningrove Steelworks. 

The Northern Echo:

Jingye group chairman Li Ganpo said: "As a young company with large ambitions we have long admired British Steel and appreciate its illustrious heritage.

"We share with the thousands of British Steel workers a passion for this industry and we are determined that together we can transform this business.”

“This is the beginning of a long journey. We know that this is only the start of the hard work of revitalizing British Steel.

"But we believe that this combination will create a powerful, profitable and sustainable business that will ensure the long-term future of thousands of jobs while producing the innovative high-quality steel products that the world needs.”

The Northern Echo:

Mayor Ben Houchen said: "I have worked really hard with the company, Government and the trade unions to be able to find a solution for British Steel and protect jobs, especially the hundreds of Teesside workers.

“But the real thanks should go to the workers who have remained committed and carried on doing a brilliant job despite all of the uncertainty for them and their families.

“If it wasn’t for them staying committed in difficult circumstances, a deal would not have been agreed, but because they did, Jingye have been able to see that British Steel still makes the best steel in the world.”