A government minister promised to do all she can to help South Yorkshire cope with steel job cuts during a meeting with Rotherham MPs.

Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey arranged the meeting in London on Tuesday (15 December). It was also attended by his colleagues Sir Kevin Barron and Sarah Champion.

It came after Tata Steel confirmed 720 jobs will go in Speciality Steels, most in Rotherham.

Afterwards, Mr Healey said: “The minister said the government will help but that South Yorkshire has got to make the case.

“This is a significant step forward, as there’s been no commitment before on extra funds for our area and Rotherham has been the forgotten town in the current UK steel crisis.

“She recognised our argument that the government had stepped up to assist Scunthorpe, and that we are looking for a similar scale of support in Rotherham and South Yorkshire.

“She also promised to visit the Rotherham steel works and made a commitment to turn around any bid for funding in days.

“As soon as the bid goes in, I and the other MPs will lean on ministers to make sure they stick to their word.”

Civil servants will work with the region’s ‘taskforce’ on the bid. The taskforce has been set up to deal with the impact of the job cuts and includes Rotherham Council, Sheffield City Region, Tata Steel, Community union and Jobcentre Plus.

They have proposed a support package of around £9m, to help steelworkers, supply businesses and the local economy.

The government are being asked to contribute £4m. UK Steel Enterprise, part of Tata Steel, has pledged £1.55m to support job creation, and £3-4m will come from the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.