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British Steel collapse will have major effect on Scunthorpe, says economics expert

The entrance to the steelworks plant in Scunthorpe as British Steel is to go into official receivership Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

For the town of Scunthorpe, the impact of losing the British Steel plant would be "immeasurable", according to one former steelworker.

Speaking outside the threatened plant, Charlotte Childs, who is now a regional official for the GMB union, said the news of British Steel's insolvency was "absolutely devastating".

She said: "I don't think it can be understated, the impact that this is going to have on the town and community. If we don't find a solution to this imminently."

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Ms Childs said that the failure to secure the plant's future would mean "mass uncertainty" for workers.

"It means not knowing whether you're going to be paying your mortgage at the end of the month.

She added that the impact could be "immeasurable", saying: "Unemployment in North Lincolnshire at the minute is 4.8 per cent. If the steelworks goes that rises that to 8.4 per cent, which is double the national average.

"It's not just the 4,000 workers that work on the steelworks or even the 20,000 people within the supply chain. It's the ancillary businesses that rely on the steelworkers having a decent income and being able to spend that money within the leisure economy in the area."

The steelworks has dominated the Scunthorpe skyline for years Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

Also speaking at the plant, Alasdair McDiarmid, operations director for the Community union, said the firm's owners Greybull Capital had taken on a "shot to nothing".

"They are not the sort of people we need running a steel business. This is a proud steel industry, with 150 years of history.

"It deserves better than that and I'm confident we can find a buyer that sees the value in this business and gives us a chance to show what this workforce can do."

When asked what he would say to workers at British Steel, Mr McDiarmid said: "Continue to fight and stay confident. This is a good business and we will never give up."

WATCH: Emma Revell, an industry expert from the Institute of Economic Affairs, says "steel is integral to Scunthorpe's identity".