Tata Steel Port Talbot

The government needs to do more to help Tata Steel find a suitable buyer, the chief executive of the company in the UK has said.

Facing questions from the Business select committee, Bimlendra Jha warned MPs that while there is no set deadline for a sale, the company 'cannot bleed indefinitely'.

The company's Port Talbot plant - the UK's largest - is understood to be losing £1 million a day. But Mr Jha told MPs that Tata Steel was focused on selling the entire business, rather than splitting off various parts.

"We would not deal with ... somebody saying leave alone Port Talbot and give us the rest - that is not a solution that's acceptable," he said.

But he called on government to offer greater support, claiming that a sale would not happen unless its pension deficit, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, is addressed.

Mr Jha also blamed what he called "structural weaknesses" - things like business rates and energy costs - in the UK for the company's woes.

"If we were at the same electricity costs as Germany , then [Tata Steel UK] would be £40m better off - we would not be having negative numbers," Mr Jha said.

"We would not be selling the business if we were not losing money"

Downing Street said the government is doing all it can to find a suitable, "sustainable future" for Tata's UK business. Business secretary Sajid Javid has said the government could take on a 25% stake in a takeover on commercial terms.

Stuart Wilkie, head of the Port Talbot plant, is leading a management buyout bid, while Sanjeev Gupta, head of commodities firm Liberty House has also expressed interest.