Redcar MP, Anna Turley, and Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (14th October 2015) assailed Government Business Minister over comments made in a letter on the government response to the SSI jobs crisis.
Anna and Tom said:
“In this letter the Minister, Sajid Javid, shoots himself in the foot. He tries to compare the famous £86 million theoretically allocated by the government to Teesside (and which includes the statutory redundancy due to the thousands of people affected) with an earlier response by the Gordon Brown Labour Government in 2010, when Tata announced the mothballing of the Lackenby and Redcar iron and steelmaking plants. At that time, he says, only £60 million was allocated.
“This is a ridiculous statement and is a vain attempt to try and dress up a denuded and raddled cash response from government ministries. The trust is that of that £60 million, all was new money. Nothing went on paying out statutory redundancy. Instead the cash – £30 million from the reserves of the now defunct Regional Development Agency, One NE, and £30 million from central government – went entirely on an ambitious programme of development in the process industry sector, and for training and re-training in the process industry sector – an area where steel making staff had expertise. It was real cash that created real jobs, unlike today’s flimsy programme.
“As well as refusing our pleas to separate out the statutory redundancy element from the package, we are also now beginning to pick up strong indications that training bodies and local colleges are being told that they have to look to their own existing revenue budgets to set up new courses and new initiatives for people made jobless by the closure. Tees Valley Colleges are being told that they have to use an already depleted – and already committed – adult skills budget, with no new real cash, and work programme providers are being told that they have to use their own existing mainstream budgets from the DWP to meet the increased demand. Day by day the glossy exterior of the government response is peeling away to show the tawdry reality.”