The Government today turned its back on the steelworkers of Hartlepool when the Chancellor of his Exchequer and his Minister, Kemi Badenoch MP, refused to guarantee the future of the industry and hundreds of jobs in the town.
It followed a challenge at Treasury questions in the House of Commons when Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham asked: “Will the Minister guarantee the future of the steel industry at Hartlepool?“
Pressure has been on the Government to step in before Liberty Steel – which employs up to 250 workers at its Hartlepool steel pipe plant, and thousands more across the North, Midlands, Wales and Scotland – becomes insolvent. The Labour Party have been calling on the Government to intervene by any means necessary – including nationalisation – before it goes bust, not afterwards. Only doing this would they save jobs, and protect businesses linked through the supply chain.
The Chancellor ducked the question and sadly, the Minister refused to provide the guarantee, simply dismissing Alex’s question. This comes after the Government rejected a £170 million bailout in early April.
Speaking afterwards Alex said:
“Liberty Steel supports hundreds of jobs in Hartlepool and many more in the supply chain across the Tees Valley, yet the Government appear happy to sit on the side-lines and watch it fail like they did with SSI at Redcar. This is utterly unacceptable. Local people need to see real action to protect their jobs and livelihoods. We need the Government to back British steel making and do whatever it takes to save Liberty Steel from collapse.”