It is "probably as good a time" as any for steelworkers to lose their jobs as UK employment opportunities are growing, Tory former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has said.
The peer said it would have been "very expensive and questionable" for the Government to seek to keep plants open, given the commercial pressures they faced.
Almost 3,500 jobs have been axed in recent weeks as the UK industry faces the threat of extinction.
Lord Heseltine, who has been a close adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron on economic growth, told the Murnaghan programme on Sky News: "If you ignore market forces the chances are that you will have an industrial strategy based on supporting yesterday's industry.
"The market is unstoppable and invariably it wins.
"There is an over-supply of steel at the moment and so trying to sustain individual plants is a very expensive and questionable activity.
"Very painful for the people who suffer but on the other hand, if you are going to lose your job this is probably as good a time because the number of new jobs in the economy today is one of the most exciting features of this economy compared with many others."