THE sale of British Steel to the Chinese firm Jingye, which was announced on Monday, has not been universally well received.

Lord Adonis, the former Labour transport minister, claimed the previous Conservative Government had resisted measures to tackle Chinese steel dumping, before allowing a Chinese firm to buy British Steel for a £50m fee he described as “a pittance”.

Sam Gyimah, the former Tory MP who is now Liberal Democrat shadow business secretary, said the deal was indicative of Britain “being overtaken by rising economic powers”. Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite trade union, is seeking assurances over long-term job security.

Clearly, there are questions still to be answered, with Jingye’s press statement only committing the company to make offers “to as many employees across the business as possible”.

However, given that there was a very real prospect of British Steel’s mills on Teesside and in Skinningrove being mothballed, we welcome the developments.

Jingye plans to invest around £1.2bn in British Steel over the next decade to upgrade facilities, lower emissions and improve energy efficiency, changes that are essential if the business is to survive in a competitive global market.

Steel making on Teesside is of huge economic, social and cultural importance. Anything that ensures it continues to be viable has to be a good thing.