Steel furnance

Steel company Sheffield Forgemasters has announced plans to cut 100 jobs, adding to already strong concerns over the state of the industry in the UK.

The firm said the collapse of steel prices, slowing economic growth around the world and slowing demand from the oil and gas industries is having a huge impact on its business, and has been forced to cut costs.

Sheffield Forgemasters chairman Tony Pedder said: "The storm clouds which seem to gather periodically over the steel and steel-related sectors are once again evident.

"Of particular concern has been reduced activity in the traditional oil and gas sector, with oil prices down to a level that is deferring much potential new investment.

"We have been working with our major customers, suppliers and in particular, our secured lender, with whom we have concluded an extension to our financing facility. This will provide adequate funding for the business through to the end of March 2017."

Harish Patel, Unite's national officer added: "World class companies like Sheffield Forgemasters need urgent support and a level playing field with their international competitors if they are to survive.

"It wasn't that long ago that government ministers pulled the plug on a loan that would have allowed Sheffield Forgemasters to invest in new equipment making it more productive."

A government spokesperson said: "We will work with local partners to help anyone made redundant find new jobs as quickly as possible.

"We understand that Sheffield Forgemasters is taking this step to restructure the business to secure its long-term future and welcome the news that its lending facility has been extended."

It comes after Tata Steel announced 1,000 job cuts, the majority of which will come in Port Talbot. Today (Wednesday), Wales economy minister Edwina Hart chaired the first meeting of a task force set up to deal with the fallout of 750 jobs being lost in Port Talbot.