Kelly’s call on ferry steel
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