Coalminer Hargreaves Services is considering rescuing the Redcar Steel Plant in Teesside, which was set to be mothballed by operator SSI UK. The company is chiming in at 11th hours talks saying it might save the plant, so it could re-open when steel prices recover.
If the rescue goes ahead, 300 jobs at the plant will be secured. However, the remaining 1,700 workers still face redundancy.
Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK announced on Monday, 28 September, that it is planning to shut down the plant as it is dealing with a challenging market. The firm called on the UK government to bailout its steel operators in Teesside, in order to save the jobs of factory workers and companies who supply the plant.
The Tory government said that it was not a realistic option for the taxpayer and added that EU state aid laws did not allow the bailout in the first place. Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said he was disappointed that the government was not willing to bailout SSI UK but had recently lent £45m to competitor Evraz, a steel and mining company owned by Alexander Abramov.
"Steelworkers on Teesside will be furious that taxpayers' money is being used in this way," he said. "David Cameron and his government have been silent on the crisis at Redcar and this is just another kick in the teeth."
Teessiders had already expressed anger at the fact that chancellor George Osborne's investment in the Northern Powerhouse failed to include Teesside. Blenkinsop had hoped that the plans set out by the Tory government would include the electrification of the railway line from Northallerton to Middlesbrough and Teesport.
Thai manufacturer SSI bought the plant from Tata Steel in 2011 as part of a major investment in the UK. Work at the Redcar was paused on 18 September, as SSI told workers it was struggling to make it profitable.