POLITICIANS have said they are 'optimistic' a rescue deal can be struck to save Cleveland Bridge just hours after it was announced the company had collapsed into administration. 

The Northern Echo has been told that Cleveland Bridge - one of the great engineering icons of the North - has called in administrators, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.

The Northern Echo:

Shocked staff at the company said they were told to come in and retrieve personal effects from their desks this morning.

One unnamed member of staff told us the situation was so bad they may not receive any pay. They claimed there was now a 48-hour battle to find a buyer.

The company has not yet confirmed the news, but the Echo understands high-level meetings are being held later today to plan the next step.

In a joint statement Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, Sedgefield MP Paul Howell and Darlington MP Peter Gibson say: “Our number one priority right now is making sure that Cleveland Bridge’s 200 members of staff, and their families, are supported at this difficult and uncertain time, and we will be working with Darlington council and Government to ensure they get whatever support they need.

“The company has a full order book for the next 18-months, this coupled with the firm’s history, expertise and highly skilled workforce makes us optimistic that a buyer will come forward quickly for this iconic business.

"But it is critical that local jobs are protected as part of any deal to buy Cleveland Bridge.”

The company is responsible for some of the greatest steelworks in the world - from Wembley Stadium Arch, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Shard in London.

Councillor Heather Scott, the leader of Darlington Borough Council has said the authority is doing "everything it can" to assist staff. 

She said: "It is important that the staff of Cleveland Bridge and their families are given the support they need at this very difficult time. As a council, we will be doing everything we can to help with that.”

Cllr Steve Harker, Leader of Darlington Labour Group has said "every step" should be taken to save the company.

He said: “The news that Cleveland Bridge has called in administrators has shocked our town. Hundreds of jobs are at risk and the town is set to lose another part of it’s proud industrial history.

“This is a real test of the Conservatives levelling up agenda. Just last week the Prime Minister set out his agenda where he said that there must be a ‘catalytic role for government’. It’s time for the PM to put his money where his mouth is.

“What better way to do that than to save a prestigious Darlington company that has created bridges and buildings that have become iconic landmarks across the world.

“I’m calling on the Council, the Tees Vally Mayor,  Government Ministers and Cleveland Bridge to  urgently sit round a table and take every step they can to save the company and the hundreds of jobs it has created.

“The Conservative council administration has already lost one important part of Darlington’s heritage, in Locomotion No.1, we cannot allow them to fail again when so many jobs are on the line.”