IMPASSIONED support for steelworkers facing the job queue echoed around the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council chamber as members from all parties with many wearing Save Our Steel T-shirts.

Labour leader Sue Jeffrey tabled a motion calling for the authority to pull together and support the thousands of people facing a bleak future after SSI announced the liquidators had been called in to the Redcar steelworks.

Recognising the “strategic importance” of the industry, and the “commitment, dedication and skills of the SSI workforce”, the motion also pledged to work with the steel task force and participate in the forthcoming Steel Summit.

She said: "Going forward Government must work with the steel industry to develop a clear strategy that recognises that security of supply of this key commodity is crucial to the future of UK manufacturing. If this means direct investment in the industry, then ways should be found to make that happen.

"There are 30,000 jobs and a £45bn annual contribution to the UK economy at stake here, Government cannot afford to sit by and watch it fail."

And the council's stance was made all the more poignant when Councillor Brian Dennis spoke of the heartbreak of finding his redundancy letter on his doormat this morning (Thursday, October 8).

"I picked up my redundancy letter off the doormat this morning, even though you know it's coming, you don't take it in until it arrives," he said.

"People are talking about the £80m package for the steelworkers but the issue is not just about 1,700 people losing their jobs there, it's the 6, 7, 8, 9,000 who will lose their jobs in the supply chain. I urge this council to tap into extra funding to help people in the borough.

"I think £80m is going to be very constructive assistance to keep the people living in the borough and working in the borough and stop them leaving in their droves and it becoming a ghost town.

"If the government giving £45m to Roman Abramovich for a steel plant in Canada isn't rubbing salt into my wounds, I don't know what is."

Cllr Chris Massey, the cabinet member for resources, said: "This is not political - it's an issue for our town and people. Pretty much everyone in this room knows someone affected."

Liberal democrat leader Josh Mason called on all members to put their political allegiance to one side and fight to save the steelworks again following the 'miracle' five years ago when the plant was brought back to life.

And conservative group leader Valerie Halton supported the motion, but believed "the Government has done everything in its power to keep steelmaking on Teesside".

The motion was passed unanimously.