Deal to save two Scots steelworks close to be being struck

Dozens of Tata steelworkers unveil Save Our Steel banner before boarding a coach bound for the Scottish Parliament in November. Picture: John Devlin

Dozens of Tata steelworkers unveil Save Our Steel banner before boarding a coach bound for the Scottish Parliament in November. Picture: John Devlin

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A NEW future for Scotland’s steel industry is close to being secured with the emergence of a buyer for two threatened mills.

Global metals firm Liberty House is believed to have agreed a deal in principle to buy and operate the mills in Clydebridge and Dalzell. The Scottish Government has been seeking a new buyer since Tata announced plans to close the plants last October with the loss of 270 jobs. The takeover is now in the hands of lawyers with a deal expected in the next day or two,

Scotland’s energy minister Fergus Ewing met Liberty House chief executive Sanjeev Gupta at the Lanarkshire plants yesterday.

Mr Gupta said afterwards: “The plant is first rate and more importantly the workers have a lot of experience, a lot of skill and they have a lot of enthusiasm to make this work.

“So I’m very confident that show will be as much a success as our plant in Wales has been.”

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Liberty took over the Caparo steel firm and hot rolling plant in Newport, South Wales, last year.

Mr Ewing said: “Sanjeev Gupta and Liberty are serious. They’ve been serious from the start.

“We’re confident that we’ve a company that will re-commence steel operations in Scotland. That’s a great thing.”

The Scottish Government recently announced a cut in business rates at the plants from April for any new operator.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs yesterday: “I want to thank the workforce, the unions and the companies for their patience and perseverance. We promised we would leave no stone unturned in our efforts to secure the future of our steel industry and that is what we continue to do.”

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