Pledge Over Steel Plant Closures

The "full force'' of the Government's enterprise network will be used to find a new commercial operator for two Scottish steel plants set for closure, business minister Fergus Ewing has said.

Tata has confirmed 270 jobs will go at its Lanarkshire plants, Dalzell in Motherwell and Clydebridge in Cambuslang.

The sites will be mothballed, with 900 jobs also going at its plant in Scunthorpe.

The Scottish Government has set up a task force chaired by Mr Ewing which will meet next week to look at ways to keep the plants open and support workers facing redundancy.

Mr Ewing said finding a new operator will not be easy but he looked to the example of Ferguson shipyard, which was rescued from closure by Clyde Blowers' Jim McColl in 2014.

"The primary objective is to find another commercial operator. We assess that that is not an easy task.

"We go in this with the full force and activity of the enterprise network, and we will use every means at our disposal to assist any commercial operator that expresses an interest to realise the objective of the continuance of the steel industry in Scotland.''

The Lanarkshire plants process steel from Tata's plant in Scunthorpe.

Asked if the Scottish plants can be a viable business on their own, Mr Ewing said: "Perhaps it is possible to purchase steel more cheaply than it was from Tata.

"There are different models here, we are not looking for a buyer for the whole of Tata.''

He added: "I really do not want to raise expectations but I would refer to the case of Ferguson's shipbuilders where people told us 'the game's a bogey, you won't succeed'.''

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