Business Rates Cut At Tata Steel Sites

4 February 2016, 16:15 | Updated: 4 February 2016, 16:31

The Scottish Government is to cut business rates at Tata Steel's two mothballed Scottish plants in a bid to attract a new operator.

Ministers announced they would legislate for one year of relief on business rates, starting from April, for the sites at Clydebridge and Dalzell.

This will be available to any new operator that comes in, provided they continue to use the sites for steel production.

The move was announced after the latest meeting of the Scottish steel taskforce, which was chaired by business minister Fergus Ewing.

He described the cut in business rates as "a powerful signal of the value we place on securing an alternative operator'' for the two sites and helping them to cut costs.

Efforts are continuing to secure a new commercial operator, with the firms Liberty House and Greybull Capital having emerged as potential buyers.

Tata announced 1,200 UK job losses in October last year, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirming afterwards a taskforce would be established to try to keep the plants open.

Mr Ewing said: "The Scottish Government is acting to support the Scottish steel industry and is making every effort to attract potential buyers for the two plants.

"This relief on business rates is a powerful signal of the value we place on securing an alternative operator and helping them to cut costs.

"It initially applies for one year as we have already secured agreement that the Assessor will take the state of the steel industry into account for the 2017 revaluation.

"We continue to work constructively with taskforce partners to ensure a viable future for the plants, with action also being taken on energy costs, procurement and on environmental issues.

"To help a new operator restart operations, the Scottish Government has also invested #195,000 to keep key workers on stand-by to safeguard full manufacturing capability.''