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Scottish steel in the post-Thatcher decade

Stevens, Jim (1990) Scottish steel in the post-Thatcher decade. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 16 (2). pp. 83-87. ISSN 0306-7866

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On 9 November, BS plc indicated their intention of closing the Clydesdale Tubeworks at Bellshill, Lanarkshire by March 1991. This follows the announcement in May that the Hot Strip Mill at BS's Ravenscraig works at Motherwell will cease production next April. Both these measures were not unexpected. In previous Commentaries and elsewhere, we have illustrated the financial incentive to BS deriving from rationalisation and stressed the vulnerability of both these operations to the then anticipated slowdown of activity projected for 1990-91. Recent events in the middle east and the consequent oil price shock have contributed to a further deterioration in the short-term outlook for steel markets. In addition, the prospect of military conflict promises to both prolong and deepen the recession now confronting the world economy. The reaction to these closures has proved furious as Scottish politicians, trade unions and industrial leaders set out to confront an entrenched British Steel. This economic perspective therefore considers the future of the steel industry in Scotland.