London-based Redcar steelworks job is a 'sick joke'

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe Redcar steelworks closed in 2015 with the loss of almost 3,000 jobs

An MP has called a job overseeing the regeneration of the Redcar steelworks a "sick joke" as it is based in London.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is advertising for a project lead for the Tees Valley's Mayoral Development Corporation.

Redcar's Labour MP Anna Turley said the job should be based in the Tees Valley.

Conservative Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said it needed to be in London to liaise with government departments.

The job, which starts at £49,525 a year, would include "occasional trips to Tees Valley".

image copyrightDCLG
image captionThe key focus of the job is to oversee the regeneration of the steelworks site

Ms Turley said: "This job will be a leading position overseeing the regeneration of the steelworks site, a big challenge that is crucial to bringing decent jobs to our area. Why on earth, then, is it based in London?

"It's a sick joke.

"We have a lot of talented people in our region with the knowledge and experience to take on a role like this."

She said the people working on the project need to be "here on the ground, not hidden away" in an office in London.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionAnna Turley wants the job to be based in Tees Valley

The steelworks closed in September 2015 with the loss of almost 3,000 jobs.

The key focus of the new job is to work with recently elected Tees Valley mayor Mr Houchen and other agencies to organise the future of the old steelworks site.

Mr Houchen told BBC Tees the job was at the central government end and needed to be in London to better liaise with the various departments.

He said Ms Turley's comments about the job showed "five or six different levels of ignorance" and he was "disappointed she hasn't educated herself on probably the most important project in her constituency".

The DCLG said the new role would be a "crucial link between Whitehall and our existing team in the region who are working closely with Ben Houchen and his office".

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