Support South Yorkshire steel workers with £7m - MP to demand at rally today

File photo dated 20/05/11 of a sign at a Tata facility. Tata Steel is planning to cut 720 jobs mainly at its plant in Rotherham, the company announced today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 16, 2015. The firm said the business had been underperforming in the face of steel imports due to the strong pound and higher electricity costs which it said were double those of European competitors. See PA story INDUSTRY Steel. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
File photo dated 20/05/11 of a sign at a Tata facility. Tata Steel is planning to cut 720 jobs mainly at its plant in Rotherham, the company announced today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 16, 2015. The firm said the business had been underperforming in the face of steel imports due to the strong pound and higher electricity costs which it said were double those of European competitors. See PA story INDUSTRY Steel. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Government should support steel workers in South Yorkshire with at least £7m, an MP will demand today at a major steel rally.

It is hoped thousands of people, both local and from other steel industry heartlands, will attend the rally outside Sheffield City Hall from 2pm.

Rotherham MP John Healey will say that the town is the ‘forgotten town’ of the steel crisis after Tata Steel announced it planned to shed about 550 jobs in the region.

Mr Healey, who represents Wentworth and Dearne where the Aldwarke plant is located, has written to Business Secretary Sajid Javid calling for Rotherham to receive the same support as Scunthorpe, which has been given a £9m package.

He said: “Rotherham has become the forgotten town of the steel crisis.

“We’re being hit just as badly as other parts of the country, we’re facing hundreds of job losses, but the Government is not giving us any of the support pledged to other steel towns.”

He said it had been a month since the industry minister visited Rotherham and pledged to help, with no action yet taken, and Chancellor George Osborne should announce emergency action in his autumn statement next week.

Council chiefs in Sheffield have also added their names to a letter pledging support for the British steel industry.

The authority was one of the first signatories of the Charter for British Sustainable Steel, which ultimately aims to secure British jobs.

The new letter will be sent to the country’s largest construction companies, asking them to sign the charter.

Council leader Julie Dore has written a column urging people to attend the rally and stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’.

She said: “Sheffield has an international reputation for steel making. It was steel that helped to establish Sheffield as an industrial powerhouse during the 19th and 20th centuries.

“And although the industry has been in decline in recent decades it remains an important part of our economy, employing around 10,000 people in our region.

“Like so many others, I was saddened to hear of the closure of the Redcar blast furnace and the news that Tata Steel is to cut 1,200 jobs, including many within Sheffield City Region.

“The news took me back to the early 1990s when my husband, a steel worker at the time, was made redundant for the third time. The impact those redundancies had on our family were profound.”