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STEEL DEBATE: FORGING A FUTURE FOR STEEL

I have been repeating the calls of the steel industry for a sector deal since 2015. The SNP Scottish Government saved Dalzell in Motherwell and I am proud to have been a member of the Steel Task Force. The UK Government must now show the same commitment to steel and create a sector deal. #ForgeAFutureForSteel

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DALZELL STEEL JOBS PROTECTED

I have received the reassuring news that following the loss of 355 jobs at Liberty Steel UK’s Stocksbridge, Rotherham and Newport sites, that there will be no job losses at the Dalzell site in Motherwell.

The Scottish Steel Task Force saved the plant from closure and Scottish Ministers – in sharp contrast to their counterparts in London – are doing everything they can to forge a future for steel in Scotland.

This includes lowering trade barriers so our steel sector can compete in the global market; the Scottish Steel Roundtable; and the new Action-Group.

My sympathies and solidarity go to those communities affected. We in Lanarkshire know all too well the effects of a Tory government on our steel sector.

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NO DEAL THREATENING STEEL

The threat of a no-deal Brexit from PM Boris Johnson is threatening our economy and manufacturing sector. Johnson must be stopped and a Steel Sector Deal must be implemented.

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MARION AND MINISTERS BACK STEEL WITH CHARTER PLEDGE

MP CALLS FOR UK STEEL SECTOR DEAL AND SIGNS STEEL CHARTER

Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, joined Scottish Government Ministers, representatives of the UK steel industry and trade unions last week to add their names to the UK Steel Charter.

Signatories of the UK Steel Charter pledged to help ensure the best possible economic benefit to the UK economy by promoting the purchase of domestically produced steel in public procurement in public infrastructure projects and to support the creation of highly paid, skilled manufacturing jobs and training opportunities in communities across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Scottish Government Ministers, including Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee, and Minister for Mental Health and MSP for Rutherglen where Liberty Steel’s Clydebridge plant is located, also pledged to ensure the Scottish Government takes steps to support steel in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

As part of its commitment to the UK Steel Charter the Scottish Government has committed to:

– Develop a pipeline of future steel requirements in Scotland

– Require the origin of all steel used in future Scottish Government projects to be provided

– Advertise clearly all future opportunities for the supply of steel in Scotland

– Engage early on in projects with steel producers and supply chains

– Stipulate British steel standards within project requirements

– Require all tender applications to include supply chain plans

This news follows on from the liquidation of privately owned British Steel. Liberty Steel have confirmed that their Dalzell plant uses slab from British Steel, but that the necessary steps are being taken to protect production.

Commenting, Marion Fellows said:

“The SNP in Holyrood and Westminster are taking action and standing up for steel now as we have done in the past while the Tories refuse to take the proper action to support our manufacturing sector.

“Although the Scottish Government secured a future for Scotland’s two steelworks, Scotland’s steel and manufacturing sector in general are still being let down by the Tories’ poor industrial strategy and refusal to create a Steel Sector Deal.

“With British Steel citing Brexit-related issues, it is clear that the Tories’ obsession with Brexit and failure to get on with the day job is actively jeopardising jobs and businesses.

“Time and time again, warnings from businesses over the damaging impact of Brexit have been ignored and throughout the entire Brexit process Scotland’s voice and interests have also been ignored.

Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee, said:

“I am delighted to sign The Steel Charter for the Scottish Government. It is a great example of the power of public procurement to be good for business, employees and communities in the delivery of our purpose to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish.”

Commenting on the Scottish Government commitment to the UK Steel Charter Gareth Stace, UK Steel Director General, said:

“I am incredibly pleased that the Scottish Government has today signed the UK Steel Charter, both symbolising and solidifying its commitment to our industry.

“As a significant purchaser of steel, the Scottish Government’s procurement decisions have a major impact on the steel industry and the supply chains it sits within. Today’s commitment will not only increase opportunities for those supplying steel into Scottish public projects, but act as an example to other organisations across the Scotland and the UK to follow suit. In doing so the Scottish Government will act as a beacon of good public practise. “

Iain Sinclair, Chief Business Development Officer, Liberty Steel UK said:

“This is an excellent initiative. As a foundation industry, steel is very important for the Scottish and UK manufacturing sectors and the wider economy. If government and businesses support our domestic steel sector when making their buying decisions it will help create a sustainable future for us all.”

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BRITISH STEEL: TORY BREXIT OBSESSION JEOPARDISING JOBS AND BUSINESSES

SNP CALL ON TORIES TO FOLLOW SCOT GOVT LEAD AND ACT TO PROTECT VITAL STEEL INDUSTRY

The SNP has warned that the Tories damaging Brexit obsession and failure to get on with the day job is actively jeopardising businesses and putting at risk thousands of jobs, following reports that the UK’s second largest steel producer is on the brink of collapse.

British Steel faces the prospect of calling in administrators today unless the Tory government accepts its request for a £30million emergency loan after citing “Brexit-related issues”.

The firm has a workforce of around 5,000 people as well as supporting a further estimated 20,000 jobs in its supply chain. The impact of a potential collapse could also have a knock on effect on steel businesses in Scotland.

Leading on an Urgent Question on British Steel in Westminster today, SNP MP Marion Fellows called on the Tory government to follow the lead of the SNP Scottish Government to step in and provide support for the steel industry and to protect the thousands of jobs that are on the line.

Commenting, Marion Fellows MP said:

“The reports surrounding the future of British Steel are deeply concerning and it is vital that the Tory government urgently steps in to provide the emergency financial support being requested by the firm.

“Thousands of jobs are on the line, the Tory government cannot sit idly by. It must act now.

“With British Steel citing Brexit-related issues, it is clear that the Tories’ obsession with Brexit and failure to get on with the day job is actively jeopardising jobs and businesses.

“In stark contrast to the chaos consuming the Tories, when Scotland’s steel plants faced closure the SNP Scottish Government took decisive action to secure a new owner, and the steelworks at Dalzell and Clydebridge have reopened.

“The Scottish Government has already proven its commitment to steel after successfully securing its future in Scotland, and now we need to see action from the UK government to show that it cares about this vital industry.

“Rather than standing up for Scotland’s interests – or the interests of industries across the UK – it’s clear that the Tories are only interested in infighting and petty leadership battles.

“Time and time again, warnings from businesses over the damaging impact of Brexit have been ignored and throughout the entire Brexit process Scotland’s voice and interests have also been ignored.

“The SNP’s focus this Thursday in the European elections is on protecting Scotland’s interests. A vote for the SNP is a vote to make clear Scotland says No to Brexit.”E

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URGENT QUESTIONS: BRITISH STEEL

Brexit and the UK Government’s haphazard handling of it is resulting in uncertainty for British Steel which is causing uncertainty for businesses in their supply chain as well as workers in affected communities.

The Scottish Government stood in to secure a future for Scotland’s steelworks and jobs. Liberty Steel took over and they are taking the appropriate steps to keep production going. But many steelworks elsewhere in the UK are facing closure due to a Tory Brexit and inaction. Solidarity with those communities.

The UK Government has provided sweetheart deals to Nissan but is leaving Scottish industries in limbo. To the Tories, industrial jobs are expendable. Especially manufacturing jobs. We have to build a diverse economy fit for a diverse workforce.

The Tories claim to be the party of businesses, but the Under-Secretary’s response shows that they aren’t grasping the concerns of businesses and trade unions alike.

Further information available here.

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Radio: Trump’s Steel Tariffs

Last Friday, I spoke on BBC Scotland about Trump’s steel tariffs which will only harm industry and workers here and in the USA. The UK Government must stand up for steel like the SNP has and arrange whatever financial or other support it can offer to keep the steel industry viable.

It is positive that tariffs will be reassessed following talks with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Junker. But this is short on detail and Trump is known to U-turn in a heartbeat. A tit-for-tat trade war should be avoided, but the UK and EU must be prepared to do what it needs to protect industries and jobs here.

The UK Government must deliver financial and other forms of support to ensure the Scottish steel industry remains viable and is able to mitigate the fallout of a potential trade war. The Tories have always viewed industry, such as Ravenscraig steelworks, as expendable. They need to show they care about manufacturing and not just the financial sector.