Final death knell as coke works closures confirmed at SSI steel works

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The coke ovens and blast furnace at a huge Teesside steel plant are to close, dashing hopes of saving jobs.

The Official Receiver said there was “no realistic prospect” of finding a buyer for the site at Redcar.

Thai owner SSI has gone into liquidation, threatening 1,700 job losses at the plant and thousands more in the supply chain.

The Official Receiver, Ken Beasley, said: “SSI was placed into liquidation with substantial debts and had no funds available to purchase the coal needed to keep the coking ovens operational.

“I have ensured the continued operation of the ovens whilst I dealt with health and safety issues and considered whether there were any viable offers for the ovens. There is no realistic prospect of a buyer being found and the priority now is to close the ovens down safely.

“I cannot continue to draw on taxpayers funds to keep the ovens operational when there is no realistic prospect that a buyer will be found.

“I am continuing my liquidation of the company, including talking with interested parties about purchasing the company’s other assets.

“I thank the staff who have been involved in the continued operation of the company and recognise the great efforts that have been put in and the professionalism shown by people in a time of enormous personal pressure.”

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott expressed his “devastation” at the news.

“This is truly devastating news and is the final nail in the coffin. The livelihoods of more than 2,000 people have been thrown on the scrapheap. It is outrageous and could all have been avoided if our government had not been forbidden by the EU from giving state aid.

“It is not just the jobs of those directly employed that are affected but the suppliers and the small shops and businesses they use. It is all very well putting in money for those made redundant, what new jobs will be created for them?