Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, was today granted an urgent question on the closure of Redcar steelworks and the loss of 2,200 jobs and many thousands more in the supply chain and local community.
Speaking in the chamber to the Industry Minister, Anna said:
“This government has overseen a tragedy for the people of my constituency and the region. It is an act of industrial vandalism for British manufacturing.
“The closure affects potentially a further 6000 jobs in the local area. But it is more than just jobs. It is people’s identity, pride, dignity, and respect in work. It is our heritage, the history of the local community where people have been involved in steelmaking for generations.
“And it’s not just our past but our future too. 50 apprentices were due to start with SSI on the day production was paused.
“The steel industry underpins the whole economy on Teesside. The government has turned its back on my constituents, turned its back on steelmaking, and dealt a hammer blow to UK industry.
“My questions to the minister are:
“Why refuse to intervene on environmental grounds to secure the site?
“Why hide behind state aid rules when other countries have stepped in to protect their national assets?
“Why claim the money would go to the Thai banks when the Official Receiver works on behalf of the Crown and has the responsibility to maximise the value of assets?
“Why claim there were no interested buyers when I am aware of at least 11 interested parties?
“Why pull the plug before exploring options for developing foundry coke for emerging markets in Western Europe?
“Why – and this is absolutely disgraceful – include statutory redundancy payments in the £80m support package which amount to as much as £20-30m of that sum? Misleading and cheating people of the support they need.
“Why has it allowed 170 years of Great British steelmaking, which built the world from Sydney Harbour Bridge to Canary Wharf, to just fade away without so much as a whimper from this government?”