The prospect of Liberty House Group buying the Dalzell works in Motherwell has been hailed as a “positive step” by the Scottish Steel Task Force.
Although Greybull Capital remains in negotiations to buy Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business the Community trade union believes it has little interest in Dalzell and the Clydebridge Works in Cambuslang.
As such Liberty House, which employs over 2,000 people in 30 countries producing more than three million tonnes of steel per year, has now stepped into the fold.
Business Minister Fergus Ewing, who chairs the task force, said: “The task force welcomed the interest of Liberty Group and agreed it was a positive step in our objective to keep the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants open.
“While nothing is agreed, there is a degree of optimism at the current situation.
“Time is of the essence and the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise can offer support to any new commercial operator wishing to restart operations.
“All members of the task force will continue to do everything possible to secure a sustainable future for Scottish steel.”
The Community union welcomes Liberty House’s interest and wants all stakeholders to work together to make new ownership a reality.
A spokesperson said: “As we have said all along, we welcome any interest from credible investors who want to create a sustainable future for the Dalzell and Clydebridge mills.
“This reinforces our strongly held view that the skills of the workforce and the assets at the plants can be competitive and these businesses can have a successful future with the right long-term investment.
“Clearly, there is a long way to go from an expression of interest to rebuilding the workforce and restarting production.
“This is why all stakeholders, particularly Tata Steel and the Scottish Government, need to work together and remain focused on doing all they can to preserve the assets and retain skills, so another investor can secure jobs and bring back production as soon as practically possible.
“To achieve this there needs to be open dialogue and full consultation with Community as the representative of Scottish steelworkers.”
Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland is pleased to hear about a potential buyer after claiming his questions had gone unanswered by the task force.
He said: “While there have been hints about interested parties in the past, the lack of information and transparency has caused a lot of frustration and uncertainty for the workforce and the public.
“As a member of the steel task force, I have also been asking questions but getting stonewalled, so it’s good to get this out of the shadows and into the open.
“Of course, talks are still at an early stage and there are still many questions remaining about the bids, but at least we now have some cards on the table and we can begin to scrutinise the bids and evaluate their merits.”