105FM :: Local Radio for Redcar & Cleveland

With the regions steelmaking industry hanging in the balance, calls have been made for the owners of Redcar Steelworks to make way for a possible rescue.

Commenting after a meeting of the Steel Task Force today, Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel, has called on SSI UK to step aside to hasten the efforts to protect the Redcar blast furnace.

He said: “I doubt that SSI UK will exist by the end of the week, they have massive debts and are unable to pay energy and resource suppliers. I’m calling on SSI UK and their banking creditors, to get out of the way and allow the transfer of all the on-site assets, including the blast furnace and coke ovens, so they can be successfully mothballed and allow the site to be secured so that we have a fighting chance for steelmaking to return to Redcar in the future. I am hopeful that Anna Soubry, the Steel Minister, can persuade the government to fast track the administration of SSI UK and work with the local workforce, trade unions and businesses to ensure that we have the capability to restart steelmaking in Redcar if an appropriate buyer is found.

The government must also act quickly to make sure there is a much needed retention package for the area to allow the workforce, and subcontractors, to receive the money they are owed and minimise the damaging economic impact which will affect the area. This plan may still not work and we have to be honest that time; and SSI’s deliberate silence has not helped at all. But even so, this is our best chance to retain our Teesside steel making assets.”

Redcar Labour MP Anna Turley said:

“We had constructive talks with the minister this afternoon and presented our proposals to her. There are two clear areas where we need government support. The first is assisting all those workers and their families suffering following the mothballing announcement on Monday and implementing a support package for them, contractors and small businesses in the supply chain.

The second priority is securing the plant so that the industrial assets are not lost for good. New revelations about SSI are emerging every day and we do not have confidence in their ability to save the plant. The government need to work with private sector partners in the region to secure the coke ovens and ensure the blast furnace is properly mothballed so that steelmaking is not lost for good.

To her credit, Anna Soubry understands the scale of the challenge and the impact this is having on Teesside. We now need her to take our plan back to her government and ensure David Cameron and George Osborne deliver support for families and businesses hit by this crisis and to secure the plant for the future. Time is of the essence now. Without immediate progress there will be nothing to save.”

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