Labour leader says time is running out to save steel industry

Kezia Dugdale
Kezia Dugdale

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale says time is running out for ministers to deliver on their promises to steel workers.

Ms Dugdale was in Motherwell to meet Dalzell steelworks prior to Tata Steel’s 45-day consultation period over it’s plans to mothball the site coming to an end next Friday (December 4).

Kezia Dugdale speaks to Community Union members Derek Fearon and Ross Clark at the Dalzell works in Motherwell.

Kezia Dugdale speaks to Community Union members Derek Fearon and Ross Clark at the Dalzell works in Motherwell.

She called on Scottish and UK Government Ministers to live up to their warm words with concrete action to save the jobs of hundreds of people in Lanarkshire.

Ms Dugdale said: “The steel industry is iconic in Lanarkshire, it has not only sustained jobs and boosted the local economy, it’s part of the DNA.

“When Ferguson’s was going down and when Prestwick was about to close the Scottish Government stepped in. If we are serious about saving the Scottish steel industry we need a positive commitment from the SNP Government that they will preserve both the industrial assets and the skills of the workforce, while a new commercial operator is found.

“Steel workers are highly skilled and make a valuable contribution to our communities. These skills and good quality jobs cannot be allowed to disappear from communities in Lanarkshire and across Scotland.

“Promises have been made to the steel workers by SNP and Tory Government Ministers. It’s now time for those promises to be delivered on.

“With just over a week until Tata Steel’s 45-day consultation period comes to an end, time is running out for the workers at the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants.

“When the Steel Task Force meets tomorrow (Thursday) we need ministers to present answers on exactly what they will do to ensure Dalzell and Clydebridge have a future.

“The SNP Government must also take a broader look at the future of traditional industries in Scotland. From shipbuilding to oil and gas to steel, too many industries have been rocked by rapid global forces.

“We need a comprehensive, forensic review into how we secure the future of these industries. Instead of simply fire fighting, the SNP Government should work with businesses and trade unions to develop a long term, active industrial strategy.

“Steel can have a bright future in Scotland and right across the UK. It needs immediate government action to make that a reality.”