THE company which revived Scotland’s last two steel plants has declared it is leading the UK’s fightback against the deluge of cheap imported steel which has flooded the domestic market.

Liberty Steel brought the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants in Lanarkshire out of mothballs in April 2016 after striking a “back to back” deal with the Scottish Government. That involved the Government buying the plants from Tata Steel and immediately selling them to Liberty, six months after Tata closed the sites with the loss of 270 jobs.

Liberty, which has a joint workforce of 170 for the two sites, said the Dalzell plant in Motherwell had recently secured two major contracts, putting it on target to produce more than 120,000 tonnes of plate steel this year. It hopes to expand output by a further 25 per cent in 2019.

Liberty said it told the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Derek Mackay, during a visit to Dalzell yesterday that the plant has been winning back market share from steel imported from continental Europe and South Korea. Foreign plate steel suppliers have come to hold around 70% of the UK market.

Plate steel is used in large physical structures such as ship bodies and bulldozers, with some of Dalzell’s output used by other Liberty plants in Scotland and England to make wind towers and oil pipelines. The Dalzell plant has ambitions to export steel to Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland.

Gordon MacRae, managing director of Liberty Steel Dalzell, said: “Making a comeback after closure was always going to be a big challenge but we are now seeing real progress. We’re expanding our product range and customer base and we firmly believe that Scotland is now leading the fightback for a share of the UK market.”