'Disaster for Teesside' as 1,700 jobs go with closure of Redcar steel plant

Government rejects call to nationalise it and save the local economy

Redcar Steel Plant Closes with Loss of 1,700 Jobs

One of the UK's biggest steel plants is to be mothballed with the loss of 1,700 jobs - with the Government reportedly rejecting a call to renationalise the facility to keep it going.

Thousands more jobs supported by the Redcar plant on Teesside are in danger.

Thai-owned firm SSI said it had no option but to mothball facilities at its Redcar site following a slump in the price of steel this year.

But unions accused the Government of not doing enough to maintain production at the historic plant, reports the Daily Mirror.

Conservative MP James Wharton, the Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse, rejected a call for the plant to be renationalised.

He said: "An industry which has made a loss over each of the last three years would pass that responsibility to the tax payer."

'Disaster for Teesside'

Cornelius Louwrens, the company's business director, said: "This is an extremely sad day for all of us at SSI UK, and in particular our employees and their families."

Workers and their families reacted with a mixture of anger and despair. Some heard the devastating news only through the media or on Facebook.

Carl Harris, 40, said: "This is a disaster for Teesside and a personal disaster for every one of us who have lost our jobs."

The unemployment rate for men in the local area is around 10%, compared with 6% nationally. One in 10 males aged 16 or over in the local area is unemployed.

The Tories haven't always opposed nationalisation - in 1971 the then Conservative prime minister, Edward Heath, rescued Rolls-Royce from closure by taking it into public ownership. It was later privatised by the Thatcher government.

Union Talks Over Future of SSI Redcar Steel Plant