SSI steelworks: MPs clash over closure of Redcar site

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Anna Turley in front of the Redcar steel worksImage source, Getty Images
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Redcar MP Anna Turley, Labour, secured an urgent question in the House of Commons about the town's steelworks

MPs have clashed in the House of Commons over the closure of Redcar's SSI Steelworks.

The town's Labour MP Anna Turley, accused the government of "industrial vandalism" by not keeping the site operational.

But Business Minister Anna Soubry said the Teesside plant had never been profitable, leaving the official receiver with no choice but to close the site.

More than 2,000 people lost their jobs.

'Tragedy for Teesside'

The steelworks has been in the hands of the official receiver since owner Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK was wound up on 2 October.

The receiver has now decided to close the site's coke ovens and blast furnace after no "realistic" buyer came forward.

MPs clashed during a Commons urgent question secured by Ms Turley.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Business minister Anna Soubry said the government had done all it could

She 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.

"This is potentially as many as 6,000 jobs in the local area and it is more than just jobs and livelihoods - this is about identity, their pride, their dignity, their respect in work."

'Independent decision'

The Redcar MP said she understood 11 buyers were interested in the site before the shut down and said the government should have kept it running while negotiations were held.

Ms Soubry told MPs: "This is not a decision the government has taken. This is a decision the official receiver has taken and the official receiver is independent.

"It is his decision and he has made it after over a week of trying to forge a potential agreement with buyers, notably of the coke ovens. I don't believe anyone has come forward to buy the blast furnace."

Ms Soubry claimed the coke ovens were losing £2m a month and blamed "Overproduction of steel across the world".