The government has unveiled a £60m emergency assistance package for the north-east of England, half of which will be directed at workers who have been made redundant in the area.
The announcement comes days after Corus announced that it was closing a steelworks, with the loss of 1,700 jobs in the area.
The short-term help – aimed mainly at meeting the cost of apprenticeships, helping start-up businesses, and funding projects at the nearby Wilton chemicals complex – could create up to 300 jobs, reports the Guardian.
Business secretary Peter Mandelson said: “The North East is home to a very significant industrial base. It must be part of our manufacturing future and not just of our manufacturing past. We are demonstrating that not only are we not walking away, but that we are prepared to put our money where our mouths are.”
The North East has been hit hard by the global economic downturn, with a slump in demand for many of the products made by its surviving manufacturers.
Some 30,000 people used to be employed by Corus in the region, but from February only 2,000 will still have jobs. Unemployment in the area stands at more than 10%.