MP cries foul for use of ‘political football’

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows at the Dalzell Works in Motherwell.
Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows at the Dalzell Works in Motherwell.

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland has been told to stop using the crisis in the Lanarkshire steel industry as a “political football”.

Last week Mr Pentland claimed the Scottish Government’s £195,000 support package for the Dalzell and Clydebridge Works was a “token gesture”.

However, Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows said: “It is a ridiculous claim from Mr Pentland that the Scottish Government are doing nothing to save the steelworks in Lanarkshire.

“Within days of the announcement that the steelworks would be closing, the Scottish Government set up the Steel Task Force which would urgently seek a buyer for the plants.

“I remind Mr Pentland that he has a seat on the task force – emphasising the SNP’s cross-party approach to what should not be a partisan issue.

“The latest £195,000 support grant will keep a number of key staff at the plants. If Mr Pentland were to ask the staff who will still be receiving an income as a result of the grant, they certainly would not call it a token gesture.

“While using steel as a political football, Mr Pentland has only offered bluster and no alternatives to saving our steelworks other than nationalisation – which the Scottish Parliament does not even have the powers to do.”

The support package has also been welcomed by steelworker Joe Wemyss.

He said: “My belief is that this will try and help retain key plant personnel i.e. the mill rollers.

“These are the people Dalzell cannot afford to lose or it would be hard to hit the ground running if a buyer for the plant can be found.

“Without the Scottish Government’s intervention, we would be closed with no hope of reopening.”