RedCar steel plant
The closing Redcar steel plant could have been saved by the government, the union saidReuters

The Redcar steel plant in Teesside will be closed after all, officials have confirmed, meaning 1,700 workers will lose their jobs. The plant was thought to have a potential future when its operator, SSI UK, opted for liquidation in an attempt to keep the plant open.

However, although the coke ovens were kept active in the last days when talks continued, Ken Beasley, the official receiver from the insolvency service, said: "There is no realistic prospect of a buyer being found and the priority now is to close the ovens down safely.

"I cannot continue to draw on taxpayers funds to keep the ovens operational when there is no realistic prospect that a buyer will be found," he added.

Thai firm Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) announced the closure of the plant in Teesside on 4 September. However, it called on the government to bailout the operations in the plant.

Due to European Union state-aid laws and the "unrealistic proposal" and limited notice given, the government said it could not bailout the operations. It offered a £80 million ($122.8m, €108m) care package for the workers whose jobs were in danger.

SSI opted for liquidation, instead of immediate closure of the plants. Coalminer Hargreaves showed interest in the operations, but the official receiver announced on 12 October that it has not found a potential buyer in time.

"I am continuing my liquidation of the company, including talking with interested parties about purchasing the company's other assets," Beasley said. "I thank the staff who have been involved in the continued operation of the company and recognise the great efforts that have been put in and the professionalism shown by people in a time of enormous personal pressure."

Government aid

Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, had urged the government to save as many jobs as possible and expressed disappointment that it was not willing to bailout SSI UK but had recently lent £45m to competitor Evraz, a steel and mining company owned by Russian Alexander Abramov.

Blenkinsop said: "While it is good that workers in Sheffield might benefit from this loan, I fail to see why the government seems impotent when it comes to providing financial support for...those 1,700 steel workers across Teesside who are losing their jobs.

"Steelworkers on Teesside will be furious that taxpayers' money is being used in this way. David Cameron and his government have been silent on the crisis at Redcar and this is just another kick in the teeth."

The announcement comes after Teessiders expressed anger at the fact that Chancellor George Osborne's investment in the Northern Powerhouse failed to include Teesside.