Scottish government sets up task force
Sturgeon seeks steel plants buyer after Tata axes 270 jobs
A task force is being set up following today’s confirmation by Tata Steel that it will begin consultation on the future of its UK plate mills, including the plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge. It is also axeing 900 jobs in Scunthorpe.
The Scottish Steel Task Force will look for new owners for some or all of the business, support affected workers, and consider the regeneration needs of the area.
The Task Force will be chaired by Business Minister Fergus Ewing and will include representatives from Tata Steel, trade unions, North Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Government agencies and local politicians. The Task Force will meet for the first time on 29 October.
The First Minister will also visit both plants this Thursday to meet employees, unions and management.
She said: “This is a very anxious time for Tata Steel employees and their families and is deeply concerning for everyone involved. My government is determined to fight for a future for our steel industry.
“That is why I have established a Scottish Steel Task Force – to be chaired by my Business Minister, Fergus Ewing – that will bring together all the key representatives to work to keep the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants open.
“We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to keep the plants open and support the 270 staff affected by today’s announcement.”
Mr Ewing said: “The Scottish Government’s priority is finding a way to continue with commercial production at the sites. “Since Tata Steel first announced the potential sale of its Long Products Division last year, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have been in constant contact with the company and trade unions, exploring every possible option to keep these plants operational.
“Building on the significant amount of work that has taken place and given the potential impacts on the workforce, local communities and wider industry in Scotland, I am now convening a joint Scottish Steel Task Force to work closely with Tata Steel, trades unions, local councils and politicians.
“I will be writing to the UK Government to urge them to respond quickly to industry demands for action and to play their full part in our efforts to keep these plants open.
“The Task Force’s focus will be to explore every option to find a viable future for the two sites. Market conditions are hugely challenging but we will explore all options to keep operations going and secure as many Scottish steel jobs as possible.
“The search for an alternative operator is our priority, however our initiative for responding to redundancy situations Partnership Action for Continuing Employment stands ready to work with Tata Steel and with workforce representatives to provide a tailored package of support, if required, to minimise the time any individuals affected by redundancy are out of work. The Task Force will also look to accelerate regeneration activities in the local area.”
The Scottish Steel Task Force will bring 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 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.