Commenting on Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to officially launch the South Tees Development Corporation today, Redcar MP Anna Turley said:
“I am pleased Theresa May has visited Teesside today for her own walk in the wilderness, to see the devastation wrought by the Tories’ at the SSI site. I wonder what she thought of the crumbling coke ovens and the rusting blast furnace they abandoned nearly two years ago. The visible symbol of their failure to act to save Teesside steel, when they seemed more than willing to act in Wales.
“3,000 people lost their jobs at the site, and many more in the supply chain. Whilst plans and ambitions for the site are good, it seems it will be many years before jobs actually start to appear. Immediate help is still needed for the families suffering. Ex-steelworkers are still coming to my surgeries and visiting the local citizen’s advice bureau with problems on low pay, personal debt and mortgages arrears. People are still struggling to find decent work and make ends meet, including those who went self-employed and are struggling to survive. The closure of the SSI emergency fund in May has severed a vital lifeline. A glossy brochure and a photo op with the Mayor won’t bring any comfort to these families. I invite her to visit Redcar High Street and meet the real people affected by the future of the site.
“Two years on from the closure, we haven’t seen a single job created at the site to replace those lost, just a £58,000 job down in London for Sir Humphrey. What's more there has been no discussion or consultation with local people about what they would like to see there. This site is a world class industrial asset which could see a new industrial renaissance on Teesside. But the government need to pull out all of the stops to get this work moving, to commit the significant resources to fund it, and above all to make sure Teessiders benefit from all of the jobs created at the site. Teessiders should be able to apply for every single job created there, particularly during the construction, and Teesside businesses should be the ones feeling the benefit.
“I will continue to hold their feet to the fire and the Tees Valley Mayor needs to step up too. Ambitions for the future of the site are good but he needs to be more than a spokesperson for the Tory Government and needs to actually start standing up for the people of Teesside, not Theresa May.”