A message from the Church Leaders concerning the future of the SSI plant in Redcar
The people of Teesside remain deeply uncertain and concerned about the potential for future steel production in the region. In recent days we have watched and listened as discussions have unfolded around the future of steel production on Teesside, but nothing has been said that would allay the uncertainty as to whether the Redcar plant will be mothballed, or closed completely.
What we do know is that this will have a profound effect on the people of Teesside. 1700 posts will be made redundant directly from the steel works, 500 from the coking works and other businesses will be both directly and indirectly affected. Families and local businesses will suffer as income in the region drops. We know that this sort of economic impact on a community has far more reaching effects on relationships, health, child poverty and employment. This in an area that is already struggling with the effects of austerity measures that are hitting Teesside very hard.
We welcome the Government’s offer of £80 million to support the community. We hope that this, in partnership with others, is part of a long term commitment to support a community that has been committed to making steel production work on Teesside. Whilst acknowledging that the global economy is challenging for steel production and being appreciative of recent statements of support by the Business minister, many in this region would have hoped for more direct support for the industry at a time when much publicity is being given to the Northern Powerhouse and the economy of the North east. We would urge that there be strategic and forward looking thinking and planning for the region and for other areas of the country suffering from the continuing decline of heavy industry.
Local churches have already responded and will continue to pray, offer pastoral care, assist those affected in material and practical ways and work with others to seek outcomes that lead to a flourishing Teesside
Please join us in praying for the people of Teesside.
Dr. Mark Bonnington (New and Independent Churches in the North East)
Chair of North East Churches Acting Together
Rt Revd Paul Butler (Bishop of Durham)
Revd John Claydon (Regional Minister, Northern Baptist Association)
Rt Revd Seamus Cunningham (Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle)
Bishop Terry Drainey (Bishop of Middlesbrough)
Rt Revd Paul Ferguson (Bishop of Whitby)
Revd Ruth Gee (Chair of the Darlington District of the Methodist Church)
Revd Stephen Lindridge (Chair of the Newcastle District of the Methodist Church)
Majors Denis and Olive Lomax (Divisional Commanders, Northern Salvation Army)
Revd Lis Mullen (Moderator of the Northern Synod of the United Reformed Church)
Revd Paul Revill (Regional Minister, Northern Baptist Association)
Rt Revd Frank White (Assistant Bishop of Newcastle Diocese)