105FM :: Local Radio for Redcar & Cleveland

MPs Anna Turley and Tom Blenkinsop have secured a visit to Redcar from Government Industry Minister Anna Soubry and will be presenting a rescue plan for the SSI steelworks to her later today.

Media speculation is rife today about an unknown company who are working with investors on a possible rescue plan that would see the plant kept ticking over, at least until a buyer is found.

Anna said:

“I am really pleased we have been able to secure this visit so that the minister can see first-hand how much the steelworks means to Teesside and why urgent action is needed to secure it. Tom and I will be putting a rescue plan for the SSI site to her which will involve working with a number of partners including the unions, local British businesses and organisations in the region.

The plan will propose a way in which the site can be properly secured, keeping the blast furnace lit so that one day when the market turns Teesside will be able to produce steel again. But the plan will only work if all partners, including the government, sit down and work together on the details. We hope the minister will commit to doing this today.

Tom Blenkinsop added:

“We have a plan to rescue this asset - the Government doesn't. The plan might not work, but it definitely won't if we don't try. It's now up to them to work with us here in the region to save steelmaking on Teesside.”

He's also highly critical of the Government, at news reports that Evraz, the steel and mining giant, is due to receive a £45m loan from Britain's export credit agency, saying:

“Whilst it is good that workers in Sheffield might benefit from this loan, I fail to see why the Government seems impotent when it comes to providing financial support for steelworkers directly here in the UK, and in particular those 1700 steel workers across Teesside who are losing their jobs. Steelworkers on Teesside will be furious that taxpayers’ money is being used in this way. David Cameron and his Government have been silent on the crisis at Redcar and this is just another kick in the teeth.

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Steel, I have written to the Prime Minister to raise my concerns over how this money is being used, particularly in light of what is happening on Teesside and whilst the UK steel industry is essentially on its knees.”

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