Scottish steel jobs saved as deal struck to reopen plants

Tata steelworks, Motherwell (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)
Tata steelworks, Motherwell (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)

The Sunday Post has learned an agreement has been reached to sell the Tata Steel works in Motherwell and Cambuslang to international metals firm Liberty House.

Sources close to the deal expect an announcement to confirm the sale this week in a move which will preserve the centuries-old steel production tradition in Scotland.

Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: “This is a rare piece of good news for an industry which is struggling.

“It will be a huge relief to these communities.”

A glut of cheap steel from China has brought the British steel industry to its knees, with thousands of job losses.

In October last year 270 workers at plants in Clydebridge, Cambuslang and Dalzell, Motherwell were told their plants were being closed unless a buyer could be found.

A huge effort by unions and Scottish Government ministers was undertaken to try and find a new owner for the plants, which both opened in the 1800s.

London-based private equity group Greybull Capital revealed in December it wanted to buy Tata’s UK businesses but was not interested in Dalzell and Cambuslang.

Liberty Steel confirmed interest in January and has been working to secure a deal since, despite interest shown by former Rangers owner David Murray.

Around 20 workers have been retained across both Clydebridge and Dalzell, funded by a £195,000 Scottish Government grant, to keep the plants ticking over.

Liberty has experience of reviving mothballed plants as last year it restarted production at a plant in the Welsh town of Newport which had been closed for more than two years. It now produces 50,000 tonnes of steel a month.

A spokesman for Liberty House Group refused to be drawn on the deal, stating they “did not wish to comment at this stage”.

The group has previously confirmed its interest in the deal and said it hoped to remove plant and equipment from Tata’s Scunthorpe plant and transfer it to the works north of the Border.

The new owner of Clydebridge and Dalzell will benefit from one year’s reduced business rates, starting next month.

Among the first orders at the revived pants could be from Scots millionaire Jim McColl.

The businesman has held informal talks with SNP ministers about the using the works to supply steel for two Calmac ferries being built at the Ferguson’s shipyard on the Clyde, which Mr McColl saved last year.

Tata Steel could not be reached for comment.


Nicola Sturgeon says Scottish Government will do ‘everything in our power’ to save Scottish steel plants