Grant Shapps, the business secretary, has held a further round of talks with the Chinese owner of British Steel as the spectre of redundancies looms over one of the UK's biggest industrial manufacturers.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Shapps met top executives from Jingye Group on Wednesday to discuss its request for state aid to help decarbonise Britain's second-largest steel producer.
It comes little more than a month since the newly appointed business secretary met Jingye chiefs amid suggestions that the Chinese group wants roughly £500m of taxpayer aid to avert the threat of blast furnace closures and mass redundancies at British Steel's Scunthorpe base.
Jingye, which took control of an insolvent British Steel in 2020, has in recent months begun making preparations for the permanent closure one of the plant's two blast furnaces.
Such a move would entail as many as 2,000 redundancies at the company, dealing a blow to Britain's industrial manufacturing capability and the local economy.
Mr Shapps' predecessor, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who lasted just weeks as business secretary under Ms Truss, opened formal talks with Jingye in October about the provision of governmentfunding to help British Steel decarbonise.
One of the pre-conditions set by Whitehall for the talks was that Jingye would not cut jobs at British Steel while the discussions were ongoing.
Tata Steel, which is the biggest player in the UK steel sector, has also requested financial help from the government.
British Steel employs about 4,000 people, with thousands more jobs in its supply chain dependent upon the company.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) declined to comment, while British Steel has previously said: "We are continuing formal talks with the UK Government to help us overcome the global challenges we currently face.
"The government understands the significant impact the economic slowdown, rising inflation and exceptionally high energy and carbon prices are having on businesses like ours and we look forward to working together to build a sustainable future."