By Daniel Hunter

Vince Cable today (Monday) visited SSI Teesside and announced the award of £1.4 million from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) which will help create and protect 1,800 jobs.

The blast furnace was relit last month, just over a year after SSI purchased Teesside Cast Products (TCP) from Tata Steel and over two years after it was mothballed.

The funding is one of the biggest RGF projects to date with a total cost of £7.325m, part funded with Regional Growth Fund grant of £1.425m, enabling the company to update the skills of longer term employees and train new staff.

This has helped re-establish a fully functioning plant for the production of slab steel, capable of producing 3.6m tonnes a year, with the potential to increase production to 4.2m tonnes a year. With due diligence and the terms of the conditions now met the money has been awarded.

"Boosting British manufacturing is central to this Government’s mission to create long term growth, that is balanced between sectors and regions of the UK," speaking at a visit to the Redcar steel plant Vince Cable said.

"For too long the British economy has relied exclusively on the City of London, ignoring places like Teesside. I want to see regions of the UK like the North East, which were once the workshops of Britain get back to their glory days.

"I have great pleasure in visiting SSI today and to witness first hand the return of steel production to the North East. The restart of the plant is fantastic news for the region as it will have a major impact on local growth and prosperity, creating around 8,000 jobs.

"SSI and its workforce have done an incredible job over the last year to get the plant up and running again and to expand production capacity."

Phil Dryden Chief Executive of SSI UK said:

“We have been pleased to welcome the Secretary of State to SSI UK, especially as it follows on from the successful resumption of iron and steel making at Teesside.

“SSI have spent around 1,000 million pounds to bring the plant back in to operation which has secured 1800 direct jobs.

“Part of that investment relates to the major training requirement which was necessary to start up the plant, and we were very pleased to receive the £1.4m award from the RGF.”

Also today Lotte Chemical has been awarded £6.7 million from RGF which will help to create 55 jobs as well as safeguarding an additional 173 jobs.

The money has been used to construct a manufacturing plant on the Lotte Chemical UK Limited (LCUK) site - part of the Wilton International chemical complex, Teesside.

The facility will develop new resins for new applications needed in the manufacture of bottles, containers and trays for use in food packaging.

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