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Snippets from UK: Caught in Debt Steel Trap, Liberty to Sell Off a Plant

By: Sanjay Suri

Last Updated: May 25, 2021, 20:36 IST


File photo of Liberty Steel owner Sanjeev Gupta.

File photo of Liberty Steel owner Sanjeev Gupta.

From Priti Patel's optimism about the India migration and mobility deal to the latest offer for food lovers at Selfridges, a roundup of what's making news today.

Liberty Steel Looks to Sell Stocksbridge Plant: The crisis-hit Liberty Steel owned by Sanjeev Gupta is selling off one of its steel plants in the UK in a bid to pay back creditors. Liberty, the third-largest steelmaker in the UK, plunged into difficulties after the collapse of its principal financier Greensill Capital in March this year. Gupta sought a government bailout, which was refused. He then announced that he would run the company and repay creditors, principally Credit Suisse to whom the company owes more than a billion pounds, with profits from other centres of his international GFG Alliance. Such profits have clearly not been forthcoming. Gupta now proposes to sell the plant at Stocksbridge following a meeting with Credit Suisse managers in Dubai.

Priti Patel Goes Gaga over Migration Pact with India: British Home Secretary Priti Patel has described the Migration and Mobility Partnership signed with India as a gold standard for Britain to follow in its immigration policies. The agreement, she said in a speech to the think tank British Future, “gives opportunities for thousands of British and Indian citizens to live and work legally in each other’s countries. This agreement shows the way forward as we strive for a new gold-standard for immigration – one which is both fair and firm.” The agreement, she said, also “tackles illegal migration, both in the UK and in India, accelerating the process of those who have no legal right to stay”. She may find acceleration on the second front easier said than done.

Cases of B.1.617.2 Covid Strain Rising in UK: New reasons are emerging over the B.1.617.2 variant of the virus after medical authorities said the number of patients infected with the strain has tripled in the north England town Bolton over the last fortnight. The numbers are still low – 43 hospitalisations on May 24 as opposed to 12 on May 10. But the number of infections is on the rise, even if it’s not soaring alarmingly around the country. Bolton town has reported 400 Covid cases – 20 times the national average. An easing of the lockdown currently under way could worsen this, doctors fear. In Wales, cases have doubled in a week now to 57. The fears are compounded by earlier data suggesting that one in three given the AstraZeneca vaccine may remain unprotected.

Breather for SpiceJet: SpiceJet has won some much-needed relief after a British court refused to order it to repay a 16.2 million-dollar fee due to the Irish aircraft lessor Goshawk. The business and insolvency court in London accepted that Spicejet has defaulted on payment, but said that any move to force it to pay straightaway could plunge the airline into insolvency. SpiceJet is far from the only airline unable to pay lessors, given the pandemic. The order could come as a signal of relief also to other airlines.

Selfridges Set to ‘Flour’ Customers with Paratha Pop-up: Amidst the doom and gloom over the virus, an appetite for good news has been building up more rapidly now as Britain heads towards a further easing of lockdown. It came for Indian food lovers by way of an announcement that Selfridges, the upmarket store on Oxford Street in London, has begun to serve paranthas in its food hall. The pop-up at the store has been launched by the Indian food group Atcha. The group has promised parathas made by a chef from Amritsar itself. Just the kind of thing many had been hungering for.

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first published:May 25, 2021, 20:36 IST
last updated:May 25, 2021, 20:36 IST