Nick Clegg welcomes Teesside steel plant sale

Nick Glegg at Redcar blast furnace
Image caption Mr Clegg said Teesside should celebrate its success

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has welcomed a deal to bring steelmaking back to Teesside and the safeguarding of 700 jobs.

The Liberal Democrat leader toured the former Corus blast furnace in Redcar, which was last week bought by Thai firm SSI for almost £300m.

He said the deal, which should mean 1,000 more jobs in the wider economy, was a "great thumps up for Teesside"

The blast furnace was mothballed in February last year.

Mr Clegg said: "It's a great thumbs up for Teesside and the North East, for the steel industry and the UK.

"It's a breath of fresh air at a time of difficult news about the British economy.

'Too shy'

"I would like to pay tribute to Tata and SSI who struck this deal.

"For too long our economy has been run according to the interests of a particular sector - the financial services sector.

"We need to support investors such as SSI to create jobs in other sectors in other parts, not just the South East, not just in financial services.

"We are a great manufacturing nation. For too long we have been too shy about celebrating our manufacturing successes."

It will take six months to start up the blast furnace - Europe's second biggest - which was switched off a year ago.

The Redcar plant, bought from Corus by Tata Steel, was created in the 1970s and has a slab production capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per year.

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