Redcar closure “devastating” says official

Posted on 14 Oct 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

The coke ovens and blast furnace at the 98-year-old SSI’s Redcar plant are set to close following no prospective buyers.

The ovens had been kept burning until the weekend to allow for offers, however, official receiver Ken Beasley commented that there was no “realistic prospect” of them being bought. Beasley said that he could no longer justify the use of taxpayers’ money to keep the site going.

The closure has triggered 2,200 job losses at the plant, which Beasley called “devastating”. Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK previously owned the site, which ceased business on October 2

The works has been hands in the hands of receivers since the site’s owner Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK (SSI) was wound up on 2 October.

Beasley, continued: “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.

“I am continuing my liquidation of the company, including talking with interested parties about purchasing the company’s other assets.”

Redcar Labour MP Anna Turley told the BBC: “I can’t believe all this has been allowed to go, all the history and heritage and potential for the site.

“I feel the government has thrown the towel in. I feel the official receiver was never interested in talking to anyone or listening to any deals, or any other options to keep it going.”

Sajid Javid, Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Sajid Javid, Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The news comes after the government announced a package at the beginning of October worth up to £80m 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.

Sajid Javid, Business Secretary, called the shutting of the plant “disappointing” but urged that although the government would support those affected, it could not intervene in the liquidations process.

Javid also said the government would host a steel summit on 16 October to “explore” the challenges facing the UK steel industry.