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Steelmaker deal could bring in 800 Teesside jobs

Sahaviriya Steel Industries purchases mothballed Corus plant in £300m deal.

The purchase of Redcar's Corus plant by a Thai steelmaker has raised the prospect of 800 jobs being created.

Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI), which bought the Teeside Cast Products plant from Corus in a £300m deal, plans to invest an extra £330m in the plant over the next two years.

SSI said it was looking to hire back 800 of the plant's 2,000 former employees, who lost their jobs after the plant was mothballed in 2010.

Interviews are already underway.

SSI plans to revive slab steel manufacturing at the plant, mainly for export to the Far East.

The company intends to increase its overall production and sales to 3.5m tonnes in 2012.

As part of the deal, Corus, owned by India's Tata Steel, will expand its facilities and the port at Redcar.

Corus almost sold the plant in 2009 to Italian and South Korean based companies, but the deal fell through after issues with the £480m price tag.

The SSI deal represents a significant dip in the plant's valuation.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.