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SSI: Your quick guide to the steel industry

The Redcar SSI steelworks shut down its blast furnaces last week Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Production at the SSI steelworks in Redcar has stopped after it emerged last week that the plant was in financial difficulties, and unable to repay debts of £80 million.

Conditions for the British steel industry have not been favourable in recent times. One of the main factors has been the 'dumping' of cheap Chinese steel in Europe, which drives down prices.

Here are four facts about why things are going wrong, and what the government is doing to help.

  • £47.7m - the amount paid so far by the government to the steel industry to offset the effect of climate change policies on electricity prices
  • 30% - average fall in steel prices due to global oversupply and Chinese and Russian currency devaluations
  • July - government voted to extend EU anti-dumping measures (higher import levies for Chinese steel)
  • 500 - the number of infrastructure projects identified by government that will help the industry win contracts

Owners of SSI say they may sell Redcar plant

Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The Thai owners of the SSI steelworks in Redcar have said that they may sell the plant in a recent press conference in Bangkok.

The blast furnaces at the site were shut down on Friday following revelations last week that the plant was in serious financial difficulties.

The Redcar steelworks employs 2,000 people whose futures are uncertain. It also uses an additional 1,000 contract workers who fear they may be out of work by next week.


SSI staff in meeting about plant's future

Blast furnaces at the plant were shut down before the weekend Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Contract workers at Teesside's SSI plant are meeting management this lunchtime to discuss their future at the site

Steel production has been paused after it emerged last week that the Teesside steelworks was in financial difficulties.

Staff arrived this morning unsure what work they could carry out following the shutdown of the plant's blast furnace on Friday night.

The Redcar base employs 2,000 people whose futures are uncertain. It also uses an additional 1,000 contract workers.

House prices in Newcastle rise 2.5% year-on-year

House prices across the UK's largest cities jumped by the highest quarterly level in 11 years as demand for housing continues to outstrip supply.

Property analyst Hometrack said Newcastle showed 2.5% growth year-on-year.

Credit: PA

Its report said a combination of low mortgage rates, economic growth and rising earnings continue to stimulate demand and put upward pressure on house prices.

But it adds that in all of the 20 cities it surveys, except Aberdeen, house price growth is greater than the current 2.4% increase in average earnings.


Newcastle City Council approves plans for £45 million refurbishment of the Civic Centre

Credit: Newcastle City Council

The cabinet of Newcastle City Council has approved plans to borrow £45 million to be spent on the refurbishment of the Civic Centre.

The council says improving the Grade II* listed Newcastle landmark would enhance it for future generations as well as creating a more efficient workplace for council staff.

It also claims energy savings, reduced maintenance bills and additional income will more than cover the costs of borrowing the money – including all interest charges on the loan.

The council says failing to invest in the building would cost taxpayers £35.3 million for basic repairs and maintenance to deal with the effects of wear and tear on the ageing structure.

Independent City Councillor Marc Donnelly, of Westerhope, said: "I am shocked and appalled at these proposals" and suggested the true cost would be near £90 million.

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