Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Corus closure 'to cost town 25m'

Ray Mallon
Mr Mallon said steel workers deserved the same help as the banks

The loss of 1,700 jobs from Redcar's Corus steel plant will cost neighbouring Middlesbrough £25m a year in lost trade, it has been claimed.

Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon said 30% of Corus workers were from the town as well as a high number of supply firms.

Mr Mallon has already said the government's promised £60m aid package for the area is too little.

At a special meeting of Middlesbrough Council on Thursday he will demand that ministers provide more help.

Corus plans to mothball the majority of its Redcar complex in January after a consortium pulled out of a long-term deal to buy its steel.

'Slap in face'

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has pledged help to those steelworkers affected and to Teesside's struggling chemical industry, which has also suffered job losses in recent months.

But Mr Mallon said steel jobs could still be saved if "decisive action" was taken at local, regional and national levels.

Corus's plant at Redcar
The future of the Redcar plant has been in doubt for months

He said: "The government has done very little to save Corus on Teesside, and the sum of money tabled last week was, to say the least, derisory.

"That token gesture was a slap in the face for the hard working men and women who have made this industry the envy of the world.

"This whole area owes its heritage to the iron and steel industries and the government owes it to all of us to do everything in its power to secure the future of Teesside Cast Products.

"Billions have been poured into the banking sector and a tiny fraction of that sum would go a long way to averting the long-term damage this closure would cause."

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