Deafening silence over steel (Andy Holt)

In the midst of the present crisis in the steel industry the silence from our masters and their mistress in Edinburgh is deafening.

Can this have anything to do with the fact that the new Forth road bridge is being constructed almost entirely of cheap, inferior-quality Chinese steel?

Of course one must acknowledge that in the tendering process our beloved leaders should consider value for money.

However, always inconsistent, those same critical faculties seem not to have come into play when they authorised the purchase of the rural payment department’s disastrous computer upgrade. Or indeed the construction of their own headquarters, the Scottish Parliament building, 10 times over budget.

British Steel is high quality but expensive. But it is expensive because of government policy which has driven up industrial energy costs until they are the highest in Europe. Thus rendering our own indigenous industry completely helpless in the face of unfair competition from the Chinese who care not one jot for carbon neutrality.

Andy Holt

North House, Papa Stour.


Add Your Comment
  • Charles Gallagher

    • April 1st, 2016 16:02

    Mr Holt is lavish with criticism but short on facts. So when the Scottish Government was first alerted to Tata’s intentions and unlike the Westminster Gov’t acted immediately by stepping in and securing the purchase of Tata’s Scottish plants by liberty House thereby securing Scottish steel jobs. Meantime as at last confirmed in the Main stream media today it transpires that Cameron and his cronies were thwarting at every turn the EU’s attempts to impose punitive import tariffs on Chinese steel, no doubt in keeping with Cameron’s dodgy nuclear finance deal with the Chinese.

    As for steel for the Queensferry crossing Scottish and other British companies were invited to tender BUT NONE RESPONDED.

    The new computer system has had its problems but I do not know the whole story except that I believe similar problems are being encountered elsewhere in the UK.

    Mr Holt then returns to the hoary old story about the Holyrood building. Let me set-out for him that saga, this project was the brainchild of Donald Dewer and New Labour and the contract was let and initially controlled by Westminster. With the project out of control George Reid, MSP, SNP was appointed to control and complete the project within its revised budget. Mr Holt might like to recall that there was a coalition of Labour and the FIB/Dems in charge during all of this.

    What surprises me most about Mr Holt is that he did not mention the Edinburgh trams fiasco which was another project not wanted by the SNP but forced on them by Labour, Tories and FIB/Dems during a minority Government and diverted much needed investment in the duelling of the killer A9.

    I will end by agreeing with Mr Holt that the UK’s excessively high energy costs when compared with Germany, France in fact just about everywhere and is one of the main reasons that UK steel can’t compete. Oh, energy policy is the responsibility of Westminster.

  • Robin Stevenson

    • April 1st, 2016 20:20

    Perhaps Mr Holt would like to explain why these ‘high energy costs’ he talks about, were imposed on Logganet of £40,000,000 per year for ‘GIVING’ our power to the National grid? Costs which eventually were unsustainable, forcing Logganet closure, while power stations in England get ‘PAID’ for supplying their power to the National grid.

    He may even like to tell us how Scottish, or indeed UK steel could possibly compete with China when we’ve just been informed that China is giving it away to [possibly] bankrupt every other EU steel industry in order for them to hold the monopoly?

    Andrew Neil on Twitter @afneil :

    “China’s 100 biggest steel producers lost $11bn last year. Bailed out by state. So still dumping steel on UK/EU markets”.

    The Scottish Government have at least managed to find a buyer for TATA Steelworks, investing £195,000 and saving 270 workers jobs,? Perhaps he’d like to see how successful SAJID Javid is doing trying to save England and Wales’s 40,000 direct and indirect steel jobs, before ‘Ya booing’ the Scottish Government?

  • iantinkler

    • April 2nd, 2016 10:34

    Oh, energy policy is the responsibility of Westminster. Good old, Charles Gallagher, good to see the usual blame Westminster piffle. Let’s see, SNP, ban fracking, build windmills by the thousands, (most expensive price energy imaginable), ban nuclear, all to be so very Green. Now hate all fossil fuels, then, run for Indy relying on oil to finance the pipe dream (Sturgeon and Salmond have forgotten, oil is perhaps the worst, most polluting, fossil fuel of all)!!! Well, well did that idea do well? Now all Scotland dependant on UK and French nuclear to keep the lights on when the wind stops blowing!! As for steel “the purchase of Tata’s Scottish plants by liberty House thereby securing Scottish steel jobs” well that was very clever, no one wants the steel, it is too expensive to compete. Well done SNP may buy a few votes with those jobs, but do not expect those jobs to be there for long.

    • Colin Dunn

      • July 15th, 2017 20:58

      UPDATE 2017:

      Ian will note that the Dalzell plant saved by the Scottish Government now employs nearly 200 people. Meanwhile, the plant Tata abandoned in Wales is still closed, and UKgov are still no further forward with discussions to help reopen it.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • July 16th, 2017 15:40 › Business › Steel industry ( Scuthoop employing thousands!!
        Get up to date Colin Dunn. Incidentally, £790 million Queensferry Crossing, all Chinese Steel. the Dalzell steel plant, steel for “wind turbine towers” talk about blowing money away in the wind. Yet Scotland’s renewable generated power is so expensive that the Grangemouth plant has to import Fracked gas from the Trump fired USA. Scotish Government policy is nothing really to boast about, a bit Nippy silly Sweetie really, perhaps that is why the SNP lost a third of their MPs at the last election! Incidentally is the Queensferry Crossing open yet or is it still being held up by the weather? (lol)

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 2nd, 2016 15:00

    Charlie I hear that MSPs and MPs are calling for clarity following a report that the public could be facing a multimillion-pound bill for clean-up costs as a result of the Scottish government’s ill thought out deal to buy and sell on two Lanarkshire steel plants.

    Under the deal, announced last week, the government will buy Clydebridge and Dalzell mills from Tata Steel, accepting all liabilities excluding pensions, then sell them on to metals group Liberty House.

    Those in the know are quoted as claiming the liability for cleaning up contaminated land, estimated to be at least £20 million, now rests with the government rather than former owners Tata or new owners Liberty.

    It has been claimed that communities are still living with contamination at Ravenscraig and it could yet affect the wider area, decades after closure.

    In this most recent deal, it is vital that Tata are not allowed to walk away from contaminated land at Dalzell or Clydebridge.

    The government should be insisting on restoration bonds with claw back options so if the cost of decontamination is higher than the bond, Tata must still pay out, it should not be left to the Scottish tax payer.

  • Andrew Holt

    • April 3rd, 2016 19:08

    Messrs Stevenson and Gallacher are mistaken in perhaps assuming my contempt for the current administration in Edinburgh signals support for the present administration in Westminster. It does not. I was unaware that UK energy policy is the sole responsibility of the U.K. Government. I am aware however that the Scottish government is hell bent on covering the country with highly subsidised and inefficient and unreliable windmills in order to chase insane targets for carbon reduction. it sickens me to hear Cameron and co claiming to be determined to minimise the damage and destruction of the U.K. Steel industry when we know that the government blocked moves to increase European tariffs on cheap Chinese steel imports in order to protect British steelworkers jobs. I agree that out of the Edinburgh tram fiasco, the Scottish Parliament building and the £178 million pound computer debacle the SNP is only directly responsible for one third. My point is that all of this is the result of too much goverment not whose brand is best. Incidentally, when, as Mr Gallacher asserts, not a single British company bid for the Queesferry did no one think to enquire why not? What in God’s name do we pay these people for?

  • Alvin Leong

    • April 4th, 2016 10:32

    I don’t know much about steel but I do know the both the last British made washing machine and car I had did not last very long.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.