Former worker at Redcar steelworks has had 13 jobs since site closed in 2015, MP reveals

The Redcar steelworks site, which closed in 2015.
The Redcar steelworks site, which closed in 2015.

A worker at a major northern steelworks site which closed in 2015 has had 13 different jobs since then, according to an MP who warned that the area is still recovering from the closure.

Anna Turley said the former worker at her local Redcar steelworks, which shut down with the loss of 2,200 jobs, was an example of the "insecurity and economic disaster that happens if the Government do not step in and stand by our steel industry".

She spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on the future of the British steel industry led by MP Nic Dakin, whose Scunthorpe constituency has 4,500 people whose jobs are threatened by the compulsory liquidation of British Steel earlier this summer.

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Ms Turley said she her constituency was still struggling after the loss of so many well-paid jobs and that the average local salary was down £10,000 a year as a result.

She added: "A month ago, I met a worker who had had 13 different jobs since he lost his job at the steelworks.

Redcar MP Anna Turley

Redcar MP Anna Turley

"That is the kind of insecurity and economic disaster that happens if the Government do not step in and stand by our steel industry, and that is before we even get on to talking about the reclaiming of the site, which stands there corroding and rusting.

"It will cost millions to get that ready for other businesses to come in, clean it up and bring jobs. I just raise that with the Minister to say that this is what happens—this is the cost of failure."

During the Westminster Hall debate a number of northern Labour MPs called for changes on procurement rules to allow government departments to use more British steel on major projects.

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Mr Dakin said: "All Government departments, bodies and infrastructure projects that purchase large quantities of steel should sign up to the UK steel charter, committing to specific, ambitious actions to increase the amount of UK steel used in public projects.

"The guidelines should be extended to cover all major public procurement and infrastructure projects. The good practice exemplified by Network Rail and Heathrow airport should be the rule, not the exception."

He added: "Instead of lurching from one crisis to another, the UK needs a Government that will put a plan for steel in place by responding positively to the five strategic asks made by steel MPs, trade unions and employers with one loud, consistent voice.

"First, the threat of a no-deal exit from the European Union is what sparked the current crisis, and anyone who talks blithely of a no-deal exit risks steel jobs and livelihoods throughout the supply chain - no deal risks no steel - so we need a positive new relationship with the EU to give certainty on the timely provision of UK-specific quotas within the EU steel safeguards. That should be a major first priority for the new Prime Minister when he takes up his post."

Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy, a Conservative, defended the Government, saying it had changed procurement rules within the European Union "to make it easier for us to procure UK steel".

But he added: "Of course, those procurement rules are still a challenge for us. The Government cannot just turn around, as some people think, and say, 'We are going to use UK steel in all Government contracts'.

"That would be illegal under UK and EU law, and - for those who think that a no-deal Brexit is the answer to all this - it would even be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules."