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Group discusses way ahead for Dalzell and Clydebridge steel plants.
The Scottish Steel Task Force met for the first time today and agreed to work urgently to find an alternative operator for Tata Steel's plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge.
Members of the Task Force met in Hamilton, hosted by South Lanarkshire Council, and were updated on the range of efforts to find a viable future for Dalzell and Clydebridge.
Business Minister Fergus Ewing chaired the meeting. He said:
"Today's first meeting of the Task Force was a chance for all members to agree that our primary focus is to secure an alternative operator for the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants and retain as many jobs as possible.
"Tata Steel gave an update on global market conditions, the challenges it faces in its UK operations and its commitment to work with the Task Force to find a viable future for the business. We also heard the optimism and determination of the trade unions to maintain a viable steel industry.
"The Task Force heard of the work that Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and other parties have been doing with the company to find a positive outcome.
"The Scottish Government has been looking urgently at what more we can do to help, on issues like business rates, energy efficiency and generation, how to cut operating costs at the plants and considering the public procurement of steel in our forward infrastructure investment programme.
"In addition, Scottish Development International now has a prospectus to take to potential operators around the world, to seek out and connect with untapped businesses and investors.
"All members of the Task Force agreed we will not give up on our steel industry and we will work urgently across all fronts to meet our aims."
Eddie McAvoy, South Lanarkshire Council Leader, said: "We were glad to be able to host this first meeting of the task force. If the proposed closures go ahead it will have a devastating impact, not just on the workers involved and their families but on the wider communities.
"The best outcome would be if we can help find a way to keep these two important steel plants open."
The Task Force will meet again on November 13, 2015, hosted by North Lanarkshire Council.
An audio clip of Business Minister Fergus Ewing commenting on the first Scottish Steel Task Force is available at:
The Scottish Steel Task Force brings together key partners to co-ordinate the development of a joint, multi-agency Economic Recovery Plan to mitigate the economic impacts to the area resulting from Tata Steel's announcement. The Plan will:
- Work with Tata Steel and trade unions to secure a future for the Scottish sites, continuing the work that has already started to evaluate the business and identify potential efficiency savings, training support and market opportunities;
- Provide support and advice for the individuals employed at the site, and working in the supply chain, to maximise each individual's opportunity to secure alternative employment, should this be required;
- Provide support to the communities impacted by the current uncertainty and potential future job losses;
- Assess the economic infrastructure of the local area, to identify whether any improvements can be made to support economic development; and
- Consider additional area regeneration activity, alongside the existing Ravenscraig Masterplan to support local economic regeneration and recovery.