TROUBLED, beleaguered, embattled, but not without hope.

That was Redcar until 3.05pm on Monday.

That was until Ken Beasley, the official receiver, stopped crunching the numbers and decreed "no more".

Of all the negative adjectives that have been used to describe it over the past month none will hurt the steel town so much as the one it must bear from now on - 'former'.

Like Consett, Redcar's iron and steel has become something that must be referred to in the past tense.

The town still has hope. Consett's economic resurgence after years of struggle showed that North-East people possess amazing powers of recovery. But after Monday, Redcar has one less thing to shout about, and plenty of things to stir up anger.

The SSI plant's workers, their families, the scores of contractors and indebted suppliers will feel the pain of steel's demise most keenly.

But if you think that this is Redcar's problem to face alone, or a Teesside thing that doesn't concern you, then you are wrong.

At a stroke it has wiped out 7 per cent of the region's exports, much of its workforce and contractor supply base came from across the region, the clean-up bill of about £600m will be borne by taxpayers, and the fact that we can no longer call ourselves an iron and steelmaking area just feels wrong.

The regional enterprise boundaries drawn up by the last government would suggest that we are divided - no longer One North East but split into Tees Valley and the north of the region, soon to have separate elected 'city' mayors with powers to decide which public services to fund and which to cut. Oh brave new world.

Indeed the Government was so concerned about the SSI story getting in the way of their shiny vision for the area it delayed an announcement due yesterday that will confirm Tees Valley has secured significant devolved powers from Whitehall. It was obviously deemed a bad day to bury good news.

There'll be plenty of people who say an industrial hulk such as Redcar steelworks had no place in the region's future where small-scale, largely non-unionised firms will hold sway, operating in areas such as advanced manufacturing, medical science, renewable energy, digital and hi-tech. But to let the indigenous steel industry die shows this government is devoid of a joined-up industrial strategy - utterly clueless about the need to link emergent businesses and improved infrastructure with foundation, bedrock industries such as steel.

We need to build new wind turbines, high speed rail tracks, power plants, factories - all requiring masses of steel. None of it will be North-East steel. Our best hope now is that as much of that new infrastructure as possible will be made here in the North-East. We need to fight as a united region to ensure that happens.