Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Commons debate sought over Teesside's steel industry

Corus plant at Redcar
Partial mothballing has begun at the Redcar site

A parliamentary debate is being considered on the future of the steel industry on Teesside.

Stockton South MP Dari Taylor made the request in the House of Commons on Wednesday, describing the industry as "essential" for the North East.

Corus is mothballing its Redcar plant with the loss of 1,600 jobs because it has no buyer for the steel it produces.

Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman said the government would consider a debate in the near future.

Ms Taylor said: "The steel industry is facing very difficult times.

Redundancy notices

"On Teesside it is believed that the owners of Corus, Tata, are threatening to close our slab steel mill. It is now mothballed.

"Isn't it time we had a discussion on the steel industry in this house?"

Union officials say some Corus workers at Redcar have already been handed redundancy notices.

The company has said it remains open to credible offers for the Tees Cast Products (TCP) plant, which it says will be kept ready for a restart.

The blast furnace was shut down on 19 February.

The site has been at risk since April 2009 when international buyers pulled out of a 10-year contract to buy steel slabs.

Unions have threatened industrial action at other Corus facilities in the UK over the situation on Teesside.

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