Government offers £80m support package for SSI steel workers

Posted on 2 Oct 2015 by Callum Bentley

The Government has announced a package worth up to £80 million to support people who have lost their jobs as a result of the mothballing of SSI’s Redcar plant and invest in the future of the Tees Valley economy.

According to press release issued today by the Office of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), full details of the package are being worked through and discussed with local stakeholders.

The package includes:

  • Funding for affected workers to train at local further education colleges and tailored support for them via Jobcentre Plus
  • Finance to assist workers if they want to start up their own business and for local small businesses to grow and create jobs

The Government said it would also consider proposals put forward by the local taskforce being led by Amanda Skelton, chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Business Minister Anna Soubry will both be attending a meeting of the taskforce in Redcar today.

Javid commented: “This is an extremely difficult time for the workforce at SSI and the local community. The package we are announcing today will provide important support to workers and the local economy. Across government we will continue to focus on providing assistance where we can.”

Commenting on the announcement of a support package from Government in respect of SSI, Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel, said: “This is a welcome announcement to support the local community in its hour of need. Government has put this marker down as a sign of intent and it is an important first step in ensuring vital skills are not lost and livelihoods are supported.

Gareth Stace, new director, UK Steel.
Gareth Stace, director, UK Steel.

“It is for Government to decide whether there was a case for using taxpayers’ money and if this wasn’t made for business reasons then we have to accept that.

“However, the much bigger issue is the future of the steel industry in the UK which make no mistake is in crisis. The forthcoming summit now assumes ever greater importance and it is critical that the Business Secretary spearheads a campaign to secure a sustainable future for the sector

“The Government is able to ensure steel companies operate on a level playing field and its must use this opportunity to support the steel sector as I fear time is of the essence.”