UK has given up but we’re backing steel say MSPs

Steel production in Scotland will be wiped out unless a buyer is found. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Steel production in Scotland will be wiped out unless a buyer is found. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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SCOTTISH ministers have suggested the UK government has given up on the steel industry after a package of up to £9 million was announced to support workers affected by job cuts in the industry south of the Border.

Tata Steel said its regeneration arm has pledged £3 million to help create jobs in Scunthorpe, while up to £6m will be given by the UK Government to train workers and help local firms.

We will not give up on the steel industry and its workers.

Fergus Ewing

Business secretary Sajid Javid said it was a “very difficult time” for the workforce after Tata Steel announced earlier this week it will cut 900 jobs from its plant in Scunthorpe, and 270 in Scotland, effectively ending steelmaking north of the Border.

Tata Steel is also providing an additional £1.5m to support job creation in steel communities around its Dalzell and Clydebridge sites in Scotland.

The Scottish government has not matched the £6m from UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with SNP business minister Fergus Ewing stating he would not “give up” on saving the plants in Motherwell and Cambuslang.

Mr Ewing said the UK government’s aid was focused on supporting the workforce at the Scunthorpe site after closure and Scottish ministers would take a different approach by seeking to find a buyer for the Scottish plants.

He said: “In Scotland our priority for Dalzell and Clydebridge is to find a buyer, continue commercial production and keep as many jobs as possible.

“We will not give up on the steel industry and its workers. The funding from Tata and the UK Government for Scunthorpe is focused on regenerating the site and finding alternative employment once the steel plants have closed, not supporting the community to keep the steelworks open.”

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to do “everything possible” to help find a buyer and has not ruled out the Scottish government taking over the sites.

Meanwhile, a steel taskforce, set up by the Scottish Government, is due to meet on Thursday, when it will look at the prospect of finding new owners for some or all of the business.

UK Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “The support today is about acting quickly and decisively so that the people affected by the restructuring get the support they need.”

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