In 2020 I made a firm promise to the people of Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool. I said I would bring Steel making back to Teesside, and today after years of hard work, I am delighted to say that that has been delivered. Steel will once again be made on Teesside.

On Teesside, steel is in our blood, and I don’t need to take up any inches in this newspaper explaining what this industry means to people in this area. It is what our communities are built on; it runs through the DNA of generations of families right across our region.

The day the site closed was a desperate one for so many, putting 2000 hardworking local people out of work, and that harsh fact is why I have felt such immense responsibility to redevelop the Teesworks site – to bring back local jobs for local people.

We have already done some incredible work with our joint venture partners, demolishing the old structures ahead of time and in budget, to pave the way for new industries of the future. We have already attracted billions of pounds of international investment from SeAH and BP for confirmed projects that will bring over 2000 long term jobs to the area. These are being delivered now, with steel frames rising from the ground, and we have many more in the pipeline that will deliver significantly more jobs than were lost back in 2015.

However, there is something special, something more, about being able to return steelmaking to this site… to its rightful home.

As hard as it was to face, the old way of making steel was not feasible. We had to move on. But in getting on, rolling our sleeves up, working at pace, and delivering other major projects, we have paved the way for a new, long-term, sustainable, steel industry. This electric arc furnace will provide the jobs of the past for Teessiders of the future. 

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Steelmaking is returning to Teesside with hundreds of jobs

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This is not only fantastic news for Teesside, but for the UK as a whole. For too long we have been dependent on importing foreign steel. You only have to look at current global events to see the national security implications of the UK losing its indigenous steel making capabilities. For global Britain, I have always been of the view, that we must have command of our key infrastructure so that we can once again stand independently on the world stage. We cannot leave the British public dependent on foreign actors any longer and this announcement puts a marker in the ground and sets us on a footing towards strengthening our strategic industries.

In politics words are cheap. Delivering is what rightly matters to people. And today we have delivered another incredible project for the people of Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool. The return of steel making. The return of jobs. The return of pride to our area.

This is my record of delivery and rest assured I promise much, much more.