Ex-PM warns of judicial review

Brown says £30m guarantee for BiFab ‘within rules’

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown: governments need to work together (pic: Terry Murden)

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown insists the Scottish Government could have provided a £30m guarantee to save jobs at BiFab and has urged Westminster to step in to provide the cash.

The Fife-based engineering company won a £30m contract from the French energy company EDF for eight wind turbine jackets to be built in Burntisland and Methil – but the Scottish Government withdrew a guarantee on the deal that it offered only a few months ago.

Alleging ‘a complete failure of government’, Mr Brown – who represented the area in the UK parliament for 32 years – says he has now asked the UK Government to step in and find a solution. 

He wants Westminster to either provide the £30m guarantee or underwrite it, which he says they are legally able to do. He says this is a “test case for whether the two governments can work together to save jobs”.

Burntisand Fabricators

The BiFab yard at Methil faces closure

Mr Brown also warns that he will consider launching a judicial review on the Scottish Government’s decision to withdraw funding.  It comes as a legal opinion for the GMB and Unite unions, written by Lord Davidson QC, describes that decision as “irrational” and one “no reasonable decision maker properly informed would have taken.”

The Scottish Government insists that the provision of the guarantee breaches EU State Aid rules. 

Mr Brown also claims that papers he has seen show that the Scottish Government ministers told parliament that their £30m guarantee was still on the table – yet they had already privately told BiFab’s Canadian owner Barnes it was being pulled.

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