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Large-scale Redundancies

Volume 601: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2015

I recognise that all job losses are deeply concerning for those affected. In the case of large-scale redundancies, the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service can provide support for affected workers. The rapid response service stands ready to provide support, and is already working at Kellingley colliery in my hon. Friend’s constituency. We may consider further intervention in exceptional cases where the impact is particularly significant.

I, too, welcome the support and retraining packages for steelworkers. As my right hon. Friend rightly says, several hundred workers at Kellingley colliery are facing redundancy later this year, and a further 240 power station workers at Eggborough are going through a consultation and are very worried about their future and their jobs at the station. Will the Chief Secretary urgently meet me to discuss a similar support and retraining package for those workers in my constituency?

I totally recognise the difficulties faced by many people in my hon. Friend’s constituency. One thing I will say is that my hon. Friend is a real champion for jobs in his constituency. Only last week, he ran his fifth annual jobs fair for his constituents, and that is part of the reason why unemployment there went down by more than 1,000 in the last Parliament. I will, of course, be happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss further what training and support is available for the constituents affected.

Seventeen hundred people in Redcar have lost their jobs, and throughout the north-east it is expected that total job losses will be 9,000. Will the Minister tell those people how long it will take for his measures to take effect and for them to have jobs again?

We are taking a number of measures in relation to steel. We are tackling unfair trade practices, and voting and speaking on that basis at EU summits. We are doing something to deal with high energy bills and we are making sure that more public contracts go to UK steel producers. At the end of the day, the one thing the UK Government cannot do is deal with the world steel price at the moment. We are offering comprehensive packages, particularly in Redcar, and we are making sure that the situation is as good as it can be at the moment.