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  1. ITV Report

Timeline: The history of steel on Teesside and in Britain

The loss of 1,700 jobs as SSI mothballs its plant at Redcar is the latest blow to a British steelmaking industry that has seen its once proud position now eroded.

For much of the 20th century steel-making was part of the backbone of British industry, employing hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland, the north of England and South Wales.

Steel switched between public and private ownership between the 1930s and the 1960s until in 1967 the Labour government nationalised the industry by forming the British Steel Corporation (BSC) under the Iron and Steel Act.

Pouring of molten metal at the Stocksbridge Steelworks of Samuel Fox & Company, near Sheffield. Credit: PA

This brought together the UK's 14 main steel producing companies, putting around 90% of British steelmaking into public ownership and allowing the reshaping of the industry after years of insufficient investment.

But in 1988 Margaret Thatcher privatised BSC, a move which heralded a sharp decline in the industry.

After reduced demand in the early 1990s, a partial recovery in 1993 and 1994 led to increasing price levels, and British Steel returned to profit.

Now the price of steel has almost halved over the past year and overproduction flooding the market.

The closure at Redcar is the latest shock to the once-famous British industry.

Here is a timeline charting the ups and downs of the Teesside plant:

  • 1999 - Corus comes into being through the merger of British Steel and Dutch rival Hoogovens.
  • 2003: Corus declares Teesside Cast Products surplus to its own needs
  • April 2007: Tata Steel buys Corus.
  • April 2009: Consortium backs out of it's contract less than half way through its ten year term.
  • May 2009: Corus says mothballing may be unavoidable, but the firm still try to find a solution.
  • July 2009: More orders come in, saving Teesside Cast Products for an extra month. Then more save it until the end of the year, hopefully giving chance for someone else to step in and purchase the plant.
  • December 2009: Corus CEO Kirby Adams says consortium members should "hang their heads in shame".
  • January 2010: Corus agrees with unions that partial mothballing will take place. This will start when stocks of iron ore are fully used up, or by end of February at the latest.
  • February 2010: Teesside Cast Products partial mothballing process begins and Corus is decommissioned.
  • August 2010: Memorandum of understanding signed between Corus and Thai company SSI to buy the plant.
Corus steel plant in Redcar, Teesside. Credit: PA
  • February 2011: SSI buy Teesside Cast Products for £300m.
  • March 2011: SSI officially take over the Teesside Cast Products plant.
  • May 2012 : First slab of steel produced from the plant after re-opening
  • November 2013: Phil Dryden announces he is to stand down at the start of 2014, with executive responsibility passing to SSI group chief executive Win Viriyaprapaikit, with Cornelius Louwrens as chief operating officer.
  • June 2014: Company achieves monthly profit for first time.
  • January 2015: Bosses indicate the company will not make a profit in the coming year
  • August 2015: Cornelius Louwrens admits the business is facing ongoing problems due to low steel prices. He also says the company is reliant on the “tolerance” of its suppliers.
  • September 17th 2015: House of Commons debate on the UK Steel Industry lead by the Redcar MP Anna Turley.
  • September 28th 2015: SSI UK announced 1,700 jobs are to be lost as the Redcar iron steelworks are to be mothballed

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