Mike Hill: Relief over deal to save steel jobs

Tata Steel, Brenda Road, Hartlepool Picture by FRANK REID
Tata Steel, Brenda Road, Hartlepool Picture by FRANK REID

I must admit to breathing a huge sigh of relief when the deal was announced this week that will safeguard over 150 jobs in Hartlepool.

The negotiations between Liberty House and Tata Steel have been lengthy and complicated and I’ve really felt for those whose jobs were on the line. Hopefully this brings an end to their anguish and uncertainty and they can look forward to many years continued employment in good, secure jobs.

While saving existing jobs is always a high priority, I’m delighted that Liberty House and Tata are both looking to the future and talking positively about investment and job creation. This is exactly what Hartlepool needs. For too long the town has been bumping along the bottom with unemployment levels significantly higher than the rest of the country.

My pledge to the people of the town is to work tirelessly to not only protect the existing jobs we have, but to look at every opportunity to bring in more jobs. We can only prosper with quality and sustainable employment and the Liberty House and Tata Steel announcement is hopefully the start of better things to come.

l HUNDREDS of people will gather in the small former mining village of Blackhall for the funeral of Bradley Lowery - the brave little lad whose fight for life has brought out the very best of human nature.

Ever since Bradley’s illness was diagnosed, family, friends, the immediate community and even complete strangers from across the whole Country and beyond have come together to illustrate the very best human condition- that of care and concern for others.

It is fitting that Bradley’s funeral will take place in a former mining village where looking after each other and community spirit, as in Hartlepool, has been forged over generations.

Bradley may have left us all too soon and after such a brave struggle, but his legacy will live on. His parents and immediate family will feel terrible sadness and loss but they can also feel very proud that their little lad’s plight brought so many people together.

On the subject of mining communities, it was an absolute delight and privilege to attend my first Durham Miners Gala as an MP.

The massive turnout as well as the glorious weather lifted the spirits and it was great to see Jeremy Corbin get another rapturous welcome from the crowd, but the event was also tinged with sadness at the absence of old friends especially Davey Hopper. The NUM stalwart was a driving force behind the event and his death, just after the last Gala, was fittingly recognised with many people wearing T shirts in memory of our Daley.

I’d also like to mention and pay tribute to my old friend Rodney Bickerstaffe of UNISON who led Davey’s funeral service despite being seriously ill himself. My thoughts are very much with him today.