Steel work closure is a massive blow to area
The announcement by TATA of the moth balling of the Clydebridge Steel plant has come as a hammer blow to the local area.
Our immediate thoughts are with the workers and their families and the uncertainty that this announcement creates.
We can only wonder at the turmoil this has created in their lives.
There is also the knock on effect on local businesses that benefit from jobs at Clydebridge.
The plant has been in existence since 1877 and steel has been a big factor in the local area.
I remember as a youngster growing up in Halfway that the local Hallside Steel works dominated the area.
The factory hooter used to sound out across the area signalling the start and end of each shift.
So the fight to retain steel production at Clydebridge is not only about those who work there but it is also about the need to keep the tradition of steel making alive in this area.
What is needed now is action not words. I welcome Nicola Sturgeons act of setting up a local task force. However, this needs to provide clear leadership.
I have written to UK Prime Minister and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking for action on a number of fronts.
Firstly, we need intervention from the UK and Scottish Governments to secure the plants.
The Scottish Government intervened to save Prestwick because of its importance to the Ayrshire economy.
I believe the same action is needed at Clydebridge to save the iconic Scottish Steel industry which is so important to the Lanarkshire and Scottish economy.
Secondly, all Scottish infrastructure projects should buy their steel from Dalzell and Clydebridge.
The new Forth Road Bridge used 37,000 tonnes of steel yet hardly any of it was forged in Scotland. More than half was made in Shanghai with most of the rest coming from Seville and Gdansk.
I am aware that that there are European rules on contracts but the Scottish Government needs to be more imaginative in how it
We can only wonder at the turmoil that has created in workers lives
Support James Kelly MSP with Councillor Richard Tullett and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale