This is a great day for Lanarkshire.
Steel in Scotland – and in the UK – has a future. But it needs the right support from politicians. Not for the first time, the Tories at Westminster seem content to abandon an iconic industry to its fate – but the SNP’s approach in Scotland could not have been more different.
Sanjeev Gupta, the executive chair of Liberty House, has praised the efforts of the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise in helping this deal go through.
We left no stone unturned in our quest to keep these plants open, but it is a tribute to the quality of the workforce that we were able to secure the future for the Scottish steel industry.
The Scottish Steel Task Force, chaired by Business Minister Fergus Ewing, has worked through the many issues facing the plants, such as energy costs, business rates and procurement – and this has helped facilitate the sale.
Of course, this is not the first time that we have successfully intervened to prevent the collapse of a key national asset.
Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow was at the point of closure, but the SNP Government intervened and helped find a buyer. Clyde Blowers stepped in, and have transformed the fortunes of Ferguson’s. It’s now winning public contracts, expanding its workforce and recruiting apprentices.
And we saved Prestwick Airport from closure by taking it into public ownership. Labour and the Tories have criticised this decision, but there was no way that we would abandon a vital infrastructure asset which contributes more than £60 million to the Scottish economy and supports over 3,000 jobs.
We’ve made a long-term commitment to the airport, and are working to put it on a sustainable footing with new passenger and cargo opportunities. Ryanair recently announced the first new routes from Prestwick in three years.
There’s a clear pattern here – and it shows the benefit of having a government which is willing to stand stronger for Scotland. When the Tories in Westminster tried to cut Scotland’s budget by £7 billion in exchange for new powers that were promised before the referendum, we saw them off. We made sure our Parliament gets the promised new powers, and won’t be a single penny worse off.
The SNP will always stand stronger for Scotland, for our key industries, the jobs they support, and for the future of our country.
Here are just some of what the SNP government has done to make our country even stronger. Share them with your friends and family today.