Redcar and Cleveland Labour Group leader today reacted to the news regarding the Sirius Minerals news. Cllr Carl Quatermain said, “This is a deeply concerning statement from Sirius Minerals who have been committed to this project throughout having already spent around £1.5billion, creating 1500 jobs with the promise of 1000 new jobs once operational. Work on the shafts and tunnelling has already begun and the mine was expected to be producing by 2021. After today that will not be the case with Sirius citing the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the political environment in the UK being factors.
This is damning for the Northern Powerhouse and the knock on effect impacts much further than the direct jobs and wealth created. It impacts on supply chains, the local economy, our high streets and the local community who were looking forward to bidding towards local projects from a £10m per year funding pot from the Sirius Foundation.
I am amazed that the current Redcar & Cleveland LibDem/Independent administration has been so laxed to this devastating statement. Is Leader Mary Lanighan really not bothered? Is she not pursuing the government and prompting the Tees Valley Mayor to make the case in favour for the guarantee? I was expecting the call for a joint statement, instead the Lib Dem’s Glyn Nightingale has simply shook it off stating we shouldn’t worry because another company will come along. If it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable. This complacent attitude by the LibDem/Independent coalition will not give the Sirius Minerals board the confidence they need that we are even backing them in this region! Is Ben Houchen and Simon Clarke MP writing to the treasury requesting a rethink and a REAL commitment to this Northern Powerhouse?
If the government were as committed to the idea of the Northern Powerhouse and the renewed focus on the North East they could have shown their mettle and provided the guarantee on the bond. Instead we are again left with the prospect that this is another failure, along with the failure to support our steel industry OR to back the TVCA’s £200m bid for the STDC land. Now we are left with a quarter built mine that may never become operational and a company that is effectively impotent.
Labour are fully committed to providing secure full time jobs that the Tories have talked about for a decade but have never delivered in this region. We back the North East and our industries and I would appeal to our local administration, the Tees Valley Mayor and our MPs to get behind this project and appeal to the Chancellor to provide the security required and allow this project to continue to progress.”