The steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta is racing to underpin his empire with taxpayer funding by furloughing hundreds of staff at his biggest British plant within 48 hours.
Liberty Steel will furlough workers at its operation in Rotherham and Stocksbridge on Thursday after speeding up initial plans to use the scheme from next week, sources said.
The bid to use the job retention programme comes amid reports that Liberty has missed payments to HMRC for VAT and staff income taxes. GFG Alliance, the owner of Liberty Steel, declined to comment on the tax claims in the Financial Times.
Mr Gupta’s operation is under massive pressure after the collapse of his financial partner Greensill, to which his businesses reportedly owe around £3.6bn.
In his first public remarks since Greensill crashed into administration on Monday, Mr Gupta said that Liberty is facing a “challenging situation” but insisted it has “adequate financing to meet its current requirements”.
Well, if you don’t pay your banker £3.6 billion then you might well have enough money.
This is all very Adam Smith. New ways to finance are easy enough to find. New people worth financing are rare.