Kelly’s call on ferry steel

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Strat­ton Wil­liams

James Kelly MSP has called on steel for the new Cal Mac ferry con­tracts to be sourced from Cly­de­bridge and Dalzell.

A task force set up to look into ways of keep­ing the Cam­bus­lang plant open will meet for the first time.

The steel for new Cal Mac fer­ries should be pro­cured from Cly­de­bridge and Dalzell, says Scot­tish Labour.

The party pointed to the £97mil­lion con­tract Fer­gu­son ship­builders won from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to build the fer­ries and has called for steel for the projects to come from the doomed La­nark­shire plants.

The move comes af­ter Tata Steel an­nounced a £ 1.5m in­vest­ment to help fund job cre­ation and train­ing for work­ers at Cly­de­bridge and Dalzell.

And Scot­tish Labour says the fund­ing should be at least matched by the Scot­tish and UK Gov­ern­ments to help them win as many pub­lic con­tracts as pos­si­ble.

Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly said: “Steel is writ­ten into the DNA of com­mu­ni­ties across La­nark­shire, it’s time to stand up for steel not walk away.

“Steel should have a bright fu­ture in Scot­land. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spends bil­lions a year on pub­lic con­tracts, like new Cal Mac fer­ries.

“Ship­build­ing and steel are two iconic Scot­tish in­dus­tries and it would make sense for the steel for ships built on the Clyde to be pro­cured from La­nark­shire.”

The Re­former con­tacted Fer­gu­son to see if it was vi­able, but did not re­ceive a re­sponse.

But Ruther­glen SNP MP Mar­garet Fer­rier hit back at Mr Kelly.

She said: “In his Re­former col­umn last week, James Kelly stated that he was call­ing for the steel needed for rail­way tracks in Scot­land to be pur­chased in Scot­land.

“This shows a fun­da­men­tal mis­un­der­stand­ing of Scot­land’s steel industry. The only steel pro­duced in Scot­land is plate, and it is not pos­si­ble for Dalzell or Cly­de­bridge to pro­duce track.

“I will cer­tainly be rais­ing the is­sue of pro­cure­ment when the task force meets on Thurs­day and would en­cour­age Mr Kelly and his Labour col­leagues on the force to do like­wise.

“He might want to brush up on his knowl­edge of Scot­land’s steel industry be­fore then, though.”

And a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said it was not its re­spon­si­bil­ity to make the de­ci­sion on where steel was sourced.

He said: “As the con­tracted ship­builder, Fer­gu­son Marine En­gi­neer­ing Ltd has re­spon­si­bil­ity for procur­ing steel used in pro­duc­tion and we are un­likely to know the out­come of that process for a num­ber of months.

“Our im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity for Dalzell and Cly­de­bridge is to find a buyer, con­tinue com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion and keep as many jobs as pos­si­ble.

“The Scot­tish Steel Task­force will meet this week and will look for new own­ers for some or all of the busi­ness, sup­port af­fected work­ers to re­main in place whilst al­ter­na­tive op­er­a­tors are sought and con­sider the re­gen­er­a­tion needs of the wider area.” • See our politi­cians’view­point col­umns on pages 35 and 42.

Rais­ing is­sue of pro­cure­ment when task force meets this week

Fight be­gins Ruther­glen Labour MSP James Kelly and a band of sup­port­ers took to the streets of Cam­bus­lang to show sup­port for trou­bled Cly­de­bridge steel plant

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