Steel crisis on the agenda

Thursday May 19th 2016

Scottish Mining Museum

Councillors from Scotland, England and Wales are meeting in Midlothian on Friday (20th May) to discuss the crises facing the steel, power and energy intensive industries across the country.

They will also be looking to develop a document calling for a UK wide industrial strategy to tackle the fundamental imbalances in the economy.

The Industrial Communities Alliance (ICA) is a local authority based lobbying group that campaigns for the economic, social and environmental regeneration of traditional industrial areas, such as former steel and coalfield communities.

Long-term member Midlothian Council is hosting Friday’s meeting at the National Mining Museum Scotland in Newtongrange. Other items on the agenda include providing financial aid to businesses and a fairer distribution of Lottery funding.

It will also be the first UK-wide meeting for the new ICA Scotland Director Roddy MacDonald. Mr MacDonald has previously been Head of Community Development at South Ayrshire Council.

A spokesperson for Midlothian Council said: “Midlothian has a proud industrial heritage. Industries such as coal, paper making and carpet making have played a major role in our economy.

“As we look forward to a service, knowledge-based, science and green technologies led economy we are ever mindful to take all of Midlothian with us. We work together with our partners in the Industrial Communities Alliance Scotland to advance the case for our former industrial areas, and to help all areas of Midlothian move forward together.”

Councillor Terry O’Neill, Chair of the ICA, said: “We are delighted to be in Midlothian to address some of the serious challenges which are affecting industry and manufacturing at the moment. Over the past few months there have been questions hanging over the steel industry and the power supply sector, and other major traditional industries could follow.

“What we need is government to take heed of the need for a coherent industrial strategy to ensure this country’s industrial base is not further weakened. The Industrial Strategy Paper that we will be discussing on Friday will hopefully be a constructive contribution to that debate.”

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