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Union leaders have joined the chorus of criticism directed towards the government after the official receiver for the SSI steel works plant in Redcar announced the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens.
Steel union Community's general secretary Roy Rickhuss said it was "devastating news".
And Unite national officer Harish Patel warned of the potential impact on the local economy.
Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald has labelled the Redcar steel works announcement an "absolute and utter disaster", accusing the government of "breathtaking industrial vandalism."
In a blog published to his website, the Labour MP said ministers had been "asleep at the wheel", claiming the collapse should have been on the government's radar a long time ago.
It comes after local council leader Sue Jeffery also lashed out at the government's response, accusing them of "allowing" the closures by failing to act.
The closure of the coke ovens and blast furnace at SSI steel works in Redcar is the "worst possible news", local council leaders have said.
Hitting out at the government for not doing more, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council leader Sue Jeffrey said hearing the news was "an absolutely heartbreaking moment".
The council will do "everything possible" to help those affected, she added. She also accused the government of inaction, allowing the closures to happen by not intervening sooner - and said the £80 million package of measures offered was "simply not enough".
" We now need to look at if the hard closure takes place as has been indicated, how we look to secure the site for the future and bring it back to contributing towards the economy in Redcar," she said.
The coke ovens and blast furnace at SSI steel works plant in Redcar, Teesside, are to close, as no viable offers have been put forward by potential buyers, the firm's official receiver has said.
SSI was wound up by the High Court in Manchester on 2 October 2015 at the company’s request, and receiver Ken Beasley was appointed by the court.
Since then, Mr Beasley has maintained the site to ensure it remains safe while discussions with potential buyers took place, as he said SSI had "substantial debts" and no funds to purchase teh coal necessary to keep the ovens operational.
But in a statement today, he said he could no longer justify using public money to keep the site open.
Some staff will be kept on while the site shuts down, he added, but said the number "will decline" as this progresses.
The Government has pledged £80 million to help Redcar and the steel workers who lost their jobs when the SSI plant closed.
The news came after thai firm which owned the steel work plant on Teesside, announced on Friday it was going into liquidation.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said the money would help the employees who were the "innocent victims" in the company's collapse.
ITN News Scotland correspondent Debi Edward reports:
Thai firm SSI, owners of the Redcar steelworks, is to go into liquidatio.
Sources told the Press Association that the board had applied to wind up the Teesside business, with a formal announcement being made later today.
The move followed a Government has announcement of an £80 million package to support workers who have lost their jobs at the huge steel plant.
A steel summit will be held on October 16, involving steel companies, MPs, unions and governments to discuss the future of the industry
The Government has announced an £80 million package to support workers who have lost their jobs at a huge steel plant in Teesside.
Around 1,700 jobs are being axed at the Redcar site after Thai owner SSI announced it was mothballing iron and steelmaking.
The money includes funding for workers to train at local further education colleges and to help them start up their own business.
Chancellor George Osborne said the support package would help make sure Teesside is "growing and strong in the future".
Steelworkers at a plant due for closure with the loss of 1,700 jobs have told of their fears for the future.
Workers and residents have told ITV News correspondent Damon Green how they are worried the closure of the plant could impact their lives and the town the live in.
Latest ITV News reports
Hundreds of families in the North East are struggling to come to terms with the impending closure of the SSI steelworks plant in Redcar.
The government has decided to allow the steel plant at Redcar to fail. A tough decision to make and obviously an unpopular one.