Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's Time to See PM Baring His Teeth; Calls for Brown to Pursue Corus Chiefs

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It's Time to See PM Baring His Teeth; Calls for Brown to Pursue Corus Chiefs

Article excerpt

Byline: SUE SCOTT GORDON

* Go online to see an archive of Corus stories from your Evening Gazette With serious questions being raised over decision-making at Corus, it's time for the bully to turn bulldog, says business editor, SUE SCOTT GORDON

Brown might have wanted to keep the diplomatic channels open with his carefully chosen words about Teesside Cast Products to Parliament this week, but in the corridors of power and among civil servants in the region, owner Corus is seen as the biggest obstacle to averting a short-term crisis and building a long-term economic solution for Redcar.

Corus has consistently side-stepped Government - Lord Mandelson couldn't get further than a telephone conversation with a "senior Corus representative" when he was on parent company Tata's doorstep in India in December, and his Secretary of State Pat McFadden was given the cold shoulder when he tried to make contact only last week with Corus CEO Kirby Adams, who was in Mumbai while McFadden was in Delhi.

After a posse of Teesside MPs turned up on his Kirkcaldy doorstep over Christmas, Mr Brown spoke by phone to Tata chairman Ratan Tata and subsequently Mr Adams, who agreed to a face to face meeting with the Department of Business on January 11.

But while Government says it is talking to Corus and separately to a number of "other companies" interested in striking deal over TCP, no one has forced all the key players - and that would include the Business Ministry, MPs and the regional development agency in whose patch TCP falls - around the same table, as Middlesbrough's Ashok Kumar called for last December. There, they could explore all the options, including the scope and scale of state aid leverage and a future role for TCP at the heart of a new manufacturing supply chain for the renewables industry in the North-east - even perhaps the possibility of extending Tata Motor's manufacturing operation to the UK. …

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