A minibus of steelworkers from the stricken SSI plant in Redcar are preparing to travel to Manchester today for a union-lead march. It will coincide with the start of the Conservative party conference. Business minister Anna Soubry MP is expected to be at the conference following her two days on Teesside last week during which she held emergency talks to try and help the site. It lead to an £80 million pound fund being released by government to support the 2,200 workers who have been made redundant. SSI UK went into liquidation on Friday. The site is now being maintained by skeleton staff as the firm managing the plant examines it for assets. They're expected to release more details on the ongoing situation tomorrow.
Redcar MP Anna Turley has told ITV News Tyne Tees that she will not accept a "hard closure" of the SSI steelmaking plant after it was announced that SSI UK had entered liquidation on Friday morning.
The MP said her priority is the workforce and that pressure needs to be put on the government to ensure that the £80 million promised is distributed quickly and does not "disappear into the ether".
Anna Turley said she will "not accept a hard closure" of the plant, despite resignation from the government. The MP is seeking legal advice to work with the official receiver to keep the site in operation.
The MP also expressed her relief that the liquidation process means control of the Redcar site is in the hands of the official receiver rather than the Thai creditors of the parent company, SSI.
Ms Turley expressed confidence in the process that will see a British official receiver take control of the situation and how the asset is managed, instead of a "wall of silence" from the company's Thai owners, who she claims were "trying to save their own skins and play fast and loose with the future of steelmaking on Teesside."
Partners from professional services firm PwC have been appointed as "special managers" to assist and support the Official Receiver in the liquidation process of SSI UK (Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK).
The liquidator is working to ensure measures are taken to ensure the Redcar coke ovens continue to operate over the weekend whilst the position and interest in the business is evaluated.
All employees at the Redcar plant have been made redundant, but measures will be taken to ensure sufficient staff are kept on to operate the coke ovens and manage the site.
Business Minister Anna Soubry has told ITV Tyne Tees News that the liquidation of SSI UK means "the end of steelmaking in Redcar".
Speaking after court proceedings around the liquidation process took place in Manchester on Friday morning, the MP said the news will "upset many, many thousands of people", following "a long proud history" of steelmaking by a "fantastic workforce".
An official receiver has been appointed by the court who will now tend to the future of the Redcar plant. The official receiver has been made aware of the importance of securing any assets, and will secure the site, ensuring it is safe.
The Business Minister said the real issue "is the future of the workforce". The £80 million package announced by the government on Friday morning will help them develop new skills in order to get jobs. Soubry said the package is not just to help the now former workers of SSI, but for the people caught up in "this nightmare", in the supply chain.
Workers will see today's developments as the end of steelmaking in Redcar but, according to Soubry, will find "comfort in the government package to provide skills and training for new jobs".
The Business Minister also expressed her anger at the owners of the steelmaking firm for not raising concerns over the future of the global steelmaking industry sooner. She said she "wishes the company had been open" about its problems nine months ago, and that if talks had taken place then, the outcome of today could have been different.
The workforce, she added, could now be in a better position, because, two weeks since work at the Redcar plant was halted, "at least they know where they are now".
Business Minister Anna Soubry has told ITV News Tyne Tees that three Thai banks - the main creditors of SSI - are now, in effect, running the parent company of SSI UK, which will have an impact on the future of steelmaking at Redcar.
This follows the news that SSI UK has today entered liquidation.
UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott has said he is "deeply disappointed" the government "did not fight harder to keep SSI open."
Speaking after news the steelmaking firm entered liquidation, Jonathan Arnott said, "The SSI plant in Redcar has been an integral part of the local community for many, many years. Not only will these 1,700 jobs now be lost with all the uncertainty that redundancy creates, there will be a secondary impact on many other local companies associated with the steel industry."
He added, “Redcar already has a high level of unemployment, so the impact upon the local community cannot be overestimated."
The MEP for North East England has also questioned whether the £80m government package to help redundant workers could have been spent to keep the plant open.
“The tragic part is that the plant could have been profitable in the long term; raw materials will not always be so expensive, the pound will not always be so strong and Chinese dumping is not permanent so steel prices will rise."
It is understood that Pricewaterhouse Coopers are to be the appointed administrators for SSI UK.
It's according to sources from the Press Association.
More to follow.
Manchester Civil Court ruled to 'compulsory wind up' workings at SSI UK in Redcar. Now, a liquidator will be appointed. An 'official receiver' values assets and at this point, the only thing SSI UK can do is seek the guidance of an insolvency practitioner to discuss the possible outcomes of compulsory liquidation. Possible negative outcomes include the complete dissolution of SSI UK.
BREAKING: SSI UK is to go into liquidation - according to sources from the Press Association
More to follow.
The Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has told ITV News Tyne Tees that he would like the Government to intervene and force SSI to put its Teesside works into administration.
He has accused the company of 'playing Russian roulette with the Redcar site and people's lives' following reports that the Thai company had come up with its own rescue plan with Thai banks by going into Business Rehabilitation.