Dalzell and Clydebridge Steel Plants (Update on Negotiations)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 22 March 2016.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

I assure members that we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to achieve our primary objective of securing an alternative commercial operator for the sites and that we have made significant progress in a number of areas.

First, we have legislated for a business rates relief scheme at Dalzell and Clydebridge from 1 April 2016 up to the 2017 revaluation, and the state of the industry will be considered in the next revaluation.

We are working to reduce energy consumption at the sites and to reduce the cost of energy.

Skills Development Scotland has developed a £195,000 upskilling programme for key staff to safeguard future manufacturing capability across the two locations. There are 23 participants, who include a mix of process operators, tradesmen, managers and specialists, each with individual and tailored training plans. More than 1,001 training days in total have already been completed or are planned to the end of June.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has put in place a team of specialists managed by the head of operations in the west of Scotland to ensure that the best possible advice is provided to Tata Steel and/or any new operator.

On procurement, we are implementing measures to address the barriers that prevent United Kingdom suppliers of steel from competing effectively for public sector contracts in Scotland, including in the supply chain. The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 places sustainable and socially responsible purchasing at the heart of public procurement in Scotland.