The government’s announcement of £3 million in new funding to support the steel town of Scunthorpe is ‘woefully inadequate’ and only deals with the symptoms not the causes of the crisis engulfing the steel industry said Britain’s largest union, Unite.
The funding announced today (Friday 23 October), to provide help for start-up businesses, was described as an ‘insult’ by Unite and comes in the wake of this week’s announcement that Tata Steel UK would be cutting 900 jobs in the town.
Tata has separately pledged £3 million to support job creation in Scunthorpe, while the government has also said it will be providing ‘up to’ £3 million for training of affected employees through local further education colleges.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “This is a woefully inadequate response from the government to support a town and industry which is being rocked by job losses.
“Steelworkers will view this limp response from the government as an insult which only deals with the symptoms, not the causes, of the steel crisis. Even then you have to ask just how much of an impact this new money will have in creating good quality jobs and supporting the local economy.
“Scunthorpe and the surrounding area are reliant on skilled steel jobs. Once the jobs are gone the knock on impact will be felt throughout the supply chain and the local economy. The government funding announced by business secretary Sajid Javid is a drop in the ocean to what is needed.
“The government needs to do more than promising ‘loose change’ and warm words to workers who face losing their livelihoods. Ministers need to act now, and act fast, to deal with the causes of the steel crisis and to keep the light burning in the UK’s steel industry.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.