A NEW council leader has said the town she represents can't face another "devastating" blow similar to the closure of the SSI steelworks as the battle to save British Steel rumbles on.

Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said she was "hopeful" hundreds of North-East jobs can be saved, and there would be no repeat of the heartbreak and devastation when the Redcar steelworks closed in 2015.

Last week, it was announced that Britain's second-largest steel producer was on the brink of collapse putting thousands of jobs at risk, including hundreds in the North East at sites in Lackenby and Skinningrove.

British Steel went into administration on Wednesday after rescue talks with the Government collapsed, but at an emergency meeting attended by North-East politicians in Stockton on Friday, politicians from all parties said they were focused on "securing a new owner for British Steel in its entirety".

The Northern Echo:

Cllr Lanigan said: "It was very positive and I am sure everyone sat around the table will have said the same message. There was incredible energy from everyone, from British Steel managers to MPs to leaders of the councils across the board.

"There was no party politics – everybody wanted to do the very best they can to solve the situation that we've got.

"From a personal point of view, that energy around that table gave me a great deal of hope that we can create a situation where we don't lose any further jobs.

"We don't want another SSI situation like we had before. I don't know a great deal about British Steel and how their operations work, and what is on the ground, but my main concern is the workforce, the communities that we've got there.

"British Steel managers are telling us that they are keeping their workforce informed step by step. It is our job to make sure that this works.

"I just want to reassure everybody that we will do everything we can and everyone is determined that we get the right outcome for the people."

More than 2,000 jobs were lost when SSI went into liquidation in 2015, and the town is still recovering four years on from the fall out.

Last week's British Steel emergency meeting heard the 700 North-East jobs could be saved as politicians called for the option to nationalise British Steel to "remain on the table".

Cllr Lanigan added: "I am hopeful that we can do something with it – there seems to be from the MPs a feeling of a lot of backing from central Government, and the messages from the MPs who have spoken to the minister sound positive, so let's see if that is going to be the case.

"There is no hesitation from any of the Tees Valley leaders – we will push. This is about our community and skilled workforce that we've got, and we don't want to be losing steel.

"It (SSI) was devastating – it came out of the blue, with hardly any warning, although the task force was put together.

"We have still got knock-on effects from that four years on for the people. We don't want another situation like this, but it was the vibes coming out of the meeting, everyone was positive about the way forward and I think if we are all working together, there must be a positive outcome."

A joint statement from Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and the region's MPs and council leaders, including Redcar MP Anna Turley, said: “We are determined to learn from the lessons of SSI and ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.

"We have vowed to do all we can to protect British Steel’s profitable plants at Lackenby and Skinningrove, and safeguard all 700 jobs in the region.

“This issue is bigger than party politics, and that is why we have come to work together and stand united to fight for our region. While we wait to hear the details of the liquidator’s plans our immediate and overriding priority is to support efforts to secure a new owner for British Steel in its entirety.

“We also maintain that all options to save the company must remain on the table, including significant public subsidy and nationalisation.

“Together we are calling on Government to step up, work with local political leaders and do all that is needed to avert a second blow."