I grew up in Middlesbrough, a small town in the North East of England. It’s one of those ‘salt of the earth’ towns. To outsiders it doesn’t appear to have much going for it. But in general the people are brilliant and they have a pride in the area that you don’t find in many of the more affluent areas of the UK.
Like many industrial parts of the UK, it’s been in decline since the 60s, as successive governments have stood by and watch it’s industries die. Teesside was built on steel, shipbuilding, and petrochemicals, and had a rich industrial heritage for example steel from Teesside has been used in construction throughout the world. (Sydney Harbour Bridge is built with Teesside steel and even the new Wembley Arch is Teesside steel).
Today a critical blow has been struck against the area. Corus ‘mothballed’ their steel plant at Redcar ending 150 years of Teesside steel production. Closing a plant that until a bunch of useless bankers caused a world recession, was profitable making high quality specialist steel, but now is yet another one of their victims.
Many on Teesside rightly feel that they should be bailed out. They didn’t cause the recession and unlike the banks, used to make real money for the country. Also Teesside, unlike the South of England, did not experience many of the benefits of the ‘boom’ times of the last 30 years. The only new businesses on Teesside have been shops and call centres. So while the government is happy to bail out those that created the problem, 1700 honest hardworking Teessiders now face a bleak New Year. This cannot be right.