Indian steel company Tata Steel has announced restructuring plans that may lead to the loss of 1,200 jobs at its plants in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire.

Nine hundred jobs will go at the firm’s plant in Scunthorpe, with the other 270 from Scottish plants.

This news comes as another serious blow to the UK steel sector, following on from yesterday’s news that Caparo Industries has gone into administration risking the loss of 1700 jobs.

In the 1970s, more than 200,000 people were employed in the UK steel sector; this has since dropped to 30,000. According to unions, one in six of those jobs is now under threat.

The industry blames cheap Chinese imports for a collapse in steel prices, a topic that Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to discuss with Chinese premier Xi Jinping on his current state visit. According to Reuters, China’s steel exports rose drastically to 11.25 million tonnes last month, exacerbating the crisis further.

Gareth Stace, Director of UK Steel, told the BBC that “we must … see a commitment from all parts of government at the highest level to ensure the sector’s survival in the UK. The Prime Minister can demonstrate that he is prepared to lead this commitment by stepping in this week and pressing the Chinese Premier about the dumping of under-priced steel, which is one of the major factors killing our industry.”

The recent strength of sterling has also contributed to the current steel crisis, making products more expensive for export customers.

The price of steel has fallen significantly since 2010, prompting speculation that the steel crisis may be here for the long haul. Industry leaders are calling for government intervention in order to save thousands of jobs and prevent the steel industry collapsing in the UK.

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