It’s a Steel!

It’s a Steel!

 

Obituary, Councillor Lynn Adams

It is always heart-breaking when a Member of the SNP passes before we have achieved our dream of Independence.  Hearts have been broken at the news that Cllr Lynn Adams from Hamilton died following a short battle against cancer.  Lynn had been a lynchpin of the Hamilton Pub scene for many years and recently the George Bar, run by Lynn and her lovely husband Colin, has been a second home to the SNP family in Hamilton.  We have had many a celebration, and a few (very few) commiserations in the warmth and welcome that are renowned at the George.  Lynn was dedicated to her profession and was Treasurer of the License Trade Association working tirelessly to campaign for the Trade, especially in the area of tenancy.  When Lynn decided to stand for the SNP in the Hamilton North and East Ward her constituents won the service of a wise, dedicated and enthusiastic elected Member who held Hamilton in her heart. Lynn always, always had a smile, a bit of cheer and wise council for those around her. Our hearts and prayers are with Colin, Gary and Andrew and her family and to the many, many people who were lucky enough to have called Lynn their friend.

 

 

It’s a Steel!

Motherwell is defined by the Steel Industry and Steel making.  Just ask a Motherwell football supporter about their team’s nickname ‘The Steelmen’! Motherwell is this week a town holding its breath in anticipation of where and if the axe will fall. Firstly, TATA announcing the mothballing of both Dalzell and Clydebridge plants with 270 local jobs at risk.  The Scottish Government announced immediate action by establishing a Scottish Steel Task Force who will look for new owners for some or all of the business, support affected workers to remain in place whilst alternative operators are sought and consider the regeneration needs of the wider area. Convened by Business Minister Fergus Ewing, The Task Force will include representatives from Tata Steel, trade unions, North Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Government agencies and local politicians. I am looking forward to taking an active role as a Central Scotland MSP.  My maternal Grandfather came from Ireland to work in Colville’s in Motherwell and spent most of his working life in the Dalzell Plant.  The closure of Ravenscraig was devastating for the area. It is estimated that at one time it supported 10,000 jobs in the area.  The loss of the Dalzell plant would be the death knell for Scottish Steel. Yet the media has been very slow to react to the second blow to our community, possible 1000 job losses across North Lanarkshire Council announced by from their Motherwell HQ, somewhat cynically in my opinion as it is redolent of a good day for bad news, in the same week. There will be a lot of worried families in the area. I trust in the First Minister’s assurance “My government is determined to fight for a future for our steel industry. That is why I have established a Scottish Steel Task Force to be chaired by my Business Minister Fergus Ewing, that will bring together all the key representatives to work to keep the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants open. We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to keep the plants open and support the 270 staff affected by today’s announcement.”

But there is a bigger, global picture here and we need Government at all levels, including the UK, to step up and demonstrate their support for the Steel Industry through action now in areas such as high energy prices, EU diplomacy and action on anti-dumping and unfair imports, fair implementation of regulations and support for examining the procurement possibilities for local Steel in major construction projects.  Most importantly, Scotland’s voice must be heard in Europe and I am delighted that Fergus Ewing is making just this case

“Steel dumping has been crippling the UK steel industry, yet the UK Government’s approach has been completely inadequate for too long. I welcome the Secretary of State’s belated recognition that he urgently needs to do something about it. Given the devastating impact that steel dumping has on the Scottish industry, I would like to see the Scottish Government have representation in EU talks to address the problem. The UK Government can also be taking action now and bring forward help for industries with high energy costs.”

 

If our worst fears come to pass and this is indeed the death knell for steelmaking then the UK faces an economic abyss as the ability to produce steel and build our future must surely be a fundamental requirement for any modern economy in order to protect the country’s long term capacity and security in construction.  Otherwise the capitalists will have had their way and we will be at the whim of international markets over which we will have little influence indeed. Is steel not a necessity for the UK and for Scotland?

 

I do believe there is still hope, and the axe may yet not fall. None the less, for everyone affected by the threat of job losses, and their families, the next few weeks will seem like we are collectively holding our breath.