Steel deal

An­nounce­ment ex­pected at task force meet­ing

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

An an­nounce­ment is set to be made to­day, Wed­nes­day, on the fu­ture of the Cly­de­bridge steel­works in Cam­bus­lang.

The Re­former un­der­stands a deal has been struck to sell the plant to Lib­erty.

But unions are be­lieved to be urg­ing cau­tion on the deal.

An an­nounce­ment on the fu­ture of the 128-year-old Cly­de­bridge steel­works is ex­pected to be made to­day, Wed­nes­day.

Hopes are high that steel pro­duc­tion at the plant will be se­cured. How­ever, trade union Com­mu­nity are un­der­stood to be urg­ing cau­tion on any an­nounce­ment un­til more de­tails are re­vealed.

Re­ports on Sun­day sug­gested a deal had been struck with in­ter­na­tional me­tals firm Lib­erty House for the Cam­bus­lang plant, as well as the Dalzell plant in Mother­well.

And ear­lier this week it was re­ported the Scot­tish Govern­ment were work­ing at “break­neck speed” to clinch the deal be­fore par­lia­ment dis­solves.

Stick­ing points are thought to be what guar­an­tees the Scot­tish govern­ment can of­fer with­out breach­ing EU rules on state aid.

The Re­former un­der­stands this will be con­firmed by the Scot­tish Govern­ment at a task force meet­ing in Hamil­ton at 3pm to­day.

A source close to the deal told us: “We are ex­pect­ing an an­nounce­ment to­mor­row at the task force meet­ing con­firm­ing that Lib­erty will take own­er­ship of both Dalzell and Cly­de­bridge.

“How­ever, de­spite the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s de­sire to spin it as ‘in­dus­try saved, job done’ we ac­tu­ally are yet to be told ex­actly what a new busi­ness will look like in terms of jobs or steel mak­ing ca­pac­ity.”

Tata steel an­nounced they were pulling the plug on the Cly­de­bridge plant in Oc­to­ber last year, with the loss of 45 jobs.

The plant was moth­balled in De­cem­ber. Since then the Scot­tish Govern­ment an­nounced a £195,000 pack­age to re­tain key staff and also re­vealed a new buyer would ben­e­fit from lower busi­ness rates.

It is un­clear if staff who lost their jobs would be taken back on.

Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly said yes­ter­day: “I sin­cerely hope there is an an­nounce­ment of a for­mal takeover of Cly­de­bridge and Dalzell. If a takeover is con­firmed, it’s im­por­tant that busi­ness plans are in place. We need this plant up and run­ning as soon as pos­si­ble with real work­ers do­ing real jobs, pro­duc­ing steel.

“That’s what work­ers want and what the peo­ple of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang want.”

Mar­garet Fer­rier MP said she couldn’t com­ment on the im­mi­nent an­nounce­ment.

She had pre­vi­ously said: “I’ve re­mained con­fi­dent through­out the process that an al­ter­na­tive op­er­a­tor could be se­cured to pro­tect this vi­tal in­dus­try. The Scot­tish Govern­ment are to be com­mended for their ef­forts to save Scot­tish steel, and I am op­ti­mistic that the hard work ded­i­cated to sav­ing this vi­tal in­dus­try will be fruit­ful.”

The Cly­de­bridge plant was opened in 1887.

Talks The Scot­tish steel task force, led by busi­ness min­is­ter Fer­gus Ewing, is meet­ing in Hamil­ton

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