Commenting on the publication of the SSI Taskforce Legacy Report today, Redcar MP Anna Turley said the collapse of the SSI steelworks has left Teesside families poorer and called for a new push for jobs.
“The legacy report from the SSI Taskforce is a reminder of the huge blow the collapse of our steelworks dealt to the Teesside economy and family livelihoods.
“The cost of closure on families, on businesses, and on the taxpayer has since far outstripped the funding that would have maintained the blast furnace and kept the profitable coke ovens going. If only the government had thought of that when they opted for a hard closure.
“Many workers have since found new employment, with some real success stories. But lots of families have also seen their standard of living drop. Weekly salaries in Redcar & Cleveland have gone from being some of the highest in our region before the closure to now being some of the lowest. Some people continue to suffer severe financial difficulties, unable to pay mortgages and loans that their former salaries would have easily covered.
“The funding secured by the SSI Taskforce has helped to soften some of the blow, supporting workers into training for new sectors or helping them to set up their own businesses. The Safety Net Fund has also been invaluable when people suddenly found themselves and their family finances in crisis. But that work continues, and has been made worse by further redundancies at other industries like Boulby potash.
“The only way our area will fully recover from that catastrophe is to bring new jobs which will raise living standards. Some of those are starting to arrive, at projects like the MGT power plant and the Sirius Minerals mine. The masterplan for the SSI site could deliver many more if it receives the full funding it needs. If we really are to have an industrial renaissance then the government must pull out all of the stops to negotiate with the Thai banks and get the regeneration work moving.”
The SSI Taskforce Legacy Report can be read here