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Update on steel

Published: 3 Dec 2015 10:00

Efforts focussed on securing new operator – Ewing.

Ministers have vowed to continue efforts to secure an alternative operator for Tata Steel's plants once the minimum statutory period of 45 days consultation with workers is reached on Friday.

Business Minister Fergus Ewing said:

"The Scottish Government and the Scottish Steel Taskforce remain focussed on securing the future of Scottish steel as we reach the 45 day milestone on Friday.

"Scottish Enterprise and TATA Steel have carried out an extensive global search for an alternative operator for Dalzell and Clydebridge and are in discussion with some of the interested parties.

"The Taskforce remains focussed on finding an alternative operator for Dalzell and Clydebridge and keeping jobs where possible. It will meet again next week to review progress.

"In a hugely challenging global steel market, we want to create the best business environment for any new operator taking on the sites.

"The Lanarkshire Assessor will take into account the state of the steel industry for the next business rates revaluation in April 2017, while we are open to options for reducing the rates liability complying with state aids rules.

"We now know that energy costs at the sites could be cut significantly, while there is potential for renewable electricity generation and sale of heat from the plants.

"We also continue to press the UK Government to maintain pressure on the European Commission to accelerate state aid clearance for the Energy Intensive Industries compensation package before Christmas.

"Representatives of the Scottish Government's Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative are delivering support onsite today and tomorrow for employees who may want to find another job, taking into account their skills and experience."

Bimlendra Jha, Executive Chairman, Tata Steel's Longs Steel UK, said:

"We continue to work closely with affected employees and their trade union representatives to ensure we provide as much help and support as we can. That work will, in this case, continue beyond the statutory 45-day minimum consultation period.

"At the same time Tata Steel is working closely with the Scottish Government and is fully engaged in the Task Force process of finding an alternative solution for the Dalzell and Clydebridge mills."

Steve McCool, National Officer at steelworkers' union Community, said:

"We will continue to talk to Tata Steel, the Scottish Government and all interested parties in the interests of securing a future for the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants. As we have said all along, all parties need to work together to ensure that the skills are retained and the assets are preserved to ensure that production has the chance to continue."

Notes to editors

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