A TASK force set up to deal with job losses in the Tees Valley steel industry yesterday agreed on a strategy for tackling the short-term impact on workers and their families.

At its first meeting since the announcement of more than 750 job losses at the Corus plant (formerly British Steel) at Lackenby, Redcar and the Grangetowon Research Centre, the task force also decided on the need for measures to help boost regeneration efforts in the area.

The task force, set up with the backing of Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers brought together senior figures from Government agencies, regional and local bodies.

Recar and Cleveland Borough Council's chief executive, Colin Moore, said: "This was a very positive first meeting, where we made considerable progress on putting together a programme of action for the months ahead.

"One factor we had to bear in mind is that it is likely to be mid-October before we will have a completely clear picture of those workers who will be affected."

Mr Moore said that it was agreed to begin putting in place the support and advice services, so when the detailed picture emerged help could be given quickly to individuals involved.

He added: "We also decided that we should be prepared to learn from the experience of others and we shall be talking with task forces in different parts of the country."