Tata Steel pledges £1.5m to support creation of new Scottish jobs
Communities and employees affected by the closure of Tata Steel plants in Scotland have been promised £1.5 million to help support the creation of new jobs.
Unveiled today as part of a £9m UK support package, the funding follows the announcement earlier this week that Tata Steel intended to mothball sites in Dalzell and Clydebridge, putting 270 jobs at risk and effectively ending steel-making north of the border.
The firm also plans to cut 900 jobs in Scunthorpe.
Tata Steel’s regeneration arm UK Steel Enterprise has pledged £3m to support job creation in Scunthorpe, on top of £10m it has already earmarked to help regenerate UK steel communities over the next five years.
The new funding is being matched by the UK government and will provide support for more start-up businesses and companies that are looking to expand and create jobs. In addition, the government is separately providing up to £3m specifically for training of affected employees through local further education colleges.
Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “I recognise this is a challenging time for the employees affected by the restructuring we announced.
“We are committed to doing everything in our power to support those impacted and through UK Steel Enterprise we will help create new jobs in the affected local communities.
“The steel industry is facing extremely challenging circumstances and we welcome the government’s pledge to match our funding package for those affected.”
First minister Nicola Sturgeon met with workers and management at Dalzell in Motherwell and Clydebridge in Cambuslang on yesterday and pledged to do “everything possible” to help Tata Steel find a buyer and keep production going at its two Scottish sites.
During her visit, the first minister and Tata Steel agreed that the firm would work with the Scottish Government’s taskforce to seek the continuation of steel manufacturing on the sites by identifying a buyer that could ensure the highly skilled jobs are retained.
Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that the Scottish Government task force would consider wider support for the workforce as she announced that modern apprentices employed on site would have their off-the-job training guaranteed should there be a gap in their employment.
And she confirmed that business minister Fergus Ewing would make a statement on the steel industry to the Scottish Parliament at the earliest opportunity following recess.
The first minister said: “The announcement that the steel plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge are to be mothballed has been extremely distressing for the workforce and it was important for me to visit the sites today to hear first-hand their perspective on this difficult situation.
“The quality of the work done at these sites is outstanding and it is clear that all of the workers have a great deal of pride in what they do. During my visit, I was struck by the determination of everyone on site to keep these plants open and I was able to reassure them that the Scottish Government will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to help them do that.
“The task force I announced earlier this week is an important starting point in those efforts. It will bring together a range of people, including unions, local authorities, politicians and other agencies to focus on identifying new owners, maintaining the operation and retaining the highly skilled jobs in Dalzell and Clydebridge. I am delighted that we have been able to agree with the company today that they will support the Scottish Government to try and find a buyer.
“The taskforce will also consider wider support for the workforce at this difficult time, including what can be done to ensure that the modern apprentices employed on site do not have their education affected.
“To that end, I am happy to confirm that as an early step, the Scottish Government will guarantee that the MAs employed here will be able to continue with the off the job training required to complete their apprenticeship should there be a gap in their employment.
“I firmly believe that there is a future for steel manufacturing in Scotland and nothing I have seen today has diminished that opinion. Together with the workforce, unions and others, the Scottish Government will continue to take every action to secure the future of this industry.”
The UK government said it will continue talks with the Scottish Government about further support.