Call for review of Forth bridge steel contracts

Alex Salmond is facing calls for an immediate review of the “disgraceful” decision to hand all work to supply steel for the new Forth crossing to overseas firms.

Contracts for up to £40 million of steel that could have been produced in Scotland have gone to China, Portugal and Spain.

Workers at the Tata-run Dalzell steel plant in Motherwell have slammed the SNP administration over the deal and written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to intervene.

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Just £20m of sub-contracts have gone to Scottish firms for the bridge project, although many have yet to be awarded. The Olympics has proved much more lucrative for Scots companies, which have won £100m of contracts for the event.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions yesterday after it was announced Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, the consortium responsible for delivering the principal contract for the crossing, had struck deals with “major international steel suppliers” in China and the EU.

She said the First Minister had gone to China and “pulled off a master deal”, adding: “The Chinese got an £800m steel contract and we got two pandas.”

She said sending the profits, business creation, research and development and jobs from a contract of such a size to other countries was a bad deal for Scottish taxpayers. “The First Minister has spent £800m and not created a single job,” she said.

Ms Lamont added: “Will the First Minister stand up for Scottish workers and instruct an immediate review of this disgraceful contract which will have huge consequences across our communities?”

Mr Salmond said the steel contract represented 5-10 per cent of the total value of the Forth replacement crossing main contract, which was worth £790m.