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  1. ITV Report

Labour MEPs call for plan to 'save our steel'

Labour MEPs have demanded that the government take action to ensure a viable future for steel on Teesside using all tools at its disposal - saying there can be no more excuses for inaction.

The East Midlands is known for its strong industrial history which has produced thousands of jobs over the years. We stand in solidarity with the North East in calling for European assistance to save the steel industry in the North East.

On the 18th September 2015 the SSI Steelworks at Redcar, in the North East, paused production, citing tough international competition and a falling global steel price. Last Friday SSI UK entered receivership.

One thousand, seven hundred direct jobs, and many of the 6,000 jobs in the local economy or supply chains which rely on the works at SSI, could now be lost.

The UK Conservative government has refused to consider giving state aid, arguing it would be against the European Commission State Aid rules for steel. However, as the Italian government has shown at the Ilva steel plant in Taranto, this is simply not the case.

Labour MEPs believe the time has come for Europe to come together to deal with the global challenge of Chinese steel dumping.

Labour MEPs believe the time has come for Europe to update the rules on state aid for a now globalised world.

At the planned summit on UK steel, set to take place in two weeks in London, government, industry and all stakeholders must come together and find a sustainable, viable future for this vital sector, rather than meaningless platitudes.

A plan is currently on the table to save a part of these works and I believe the receivers need to prioritise these plans - thereby securing the maximum number of jobs at Redcar.

George Osborne is all over the news today talking about grand plans for future infrastructure - yet when presented with the chance to save UK industry in the here and now he does nothing.

The Tories may be prepared to sit idly by and watch SSI sink, but Labour MEPs are not prepared to give up on the UK workforce."

– Glenis Willmott, Labour MEP for the East Midlands and Labour's leader in Europe

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