Hartlepool MP Iain Wright has vowed to do everything in his power to protect steel jobs in the town.
He visited Tata Steel’s Hartlepool plant this week to discuss the company’s future and the search for a buyer for its UK operations.
The vow comes as figures show the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits jumped by more than 20%in a year.
DWP staff say the way data is collected has changed since the town was chosen to pilot Universal Credit.
“It was an honour to visit again the facilities at Tata’s Hartlepool plant,” said Iain Wright.
“It reinforced the great, world-class products workers are producing for important and iconic energy and construction projects around the world.
“I particularly wanted to discuss the recent decision by Tata to put all of its steel operations, including that of Hartlepool, up for sale with local management and union officials.
“It is naturally a period of uncertainty and anxiety for all those who work at Tata Hartlepool.
“The quality of the products made by an exceptionally committed workforce will hopefully mean that a potential buyer will come forward.
“I continue to be keen to do what I can do as the local MP as well as the Chairman of the Business Select Committee in Parliament to challenge the Government on its response to Tata’s decision and the need to continue excellent operations around the UK, such as in Hartlepool, to ensure that, what is a very difficult time, the British steel industry is provided with a bright future.”