BiFab fears: Call for council and Scottish Government help

BiFab
BiFab
  • Yard is ‘cornerstone of the hopes for a better future for the area’
  • Call for immediate cross-party action

The Scottish Government and Fife Council have been urged to step in to help BiFab amid fears the business is about to go into administration.

It employs around 440 people at two yards in Burntisland and Methil and is one of the largest fabricators for the energy industry in Scotland.

It also operates out of the Isle of Lewis.

Fears over BiFab’s future has alarmed union leaders and politicians.

Councillor Ken Caldwell, who chairs Levenmouth’s local area committee, has written to the Scottish Government urging it to step in.

And he has also made the same call to senior officers within Fife Council to do what they can avoid any devastating closures.

Cllr Caldwell SNP member for Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss villages, said: ‘‘The loss of Bifab would be a huge blow to the local economy, not just financially, but it would hurt the moral of the community.’’

He described the local yard as ‘‘the cornerstone of the hopes for a better future for the area.’’

Cllr Caldwell added: ‘‘Levenmouth is an area with many challenges. It has 23 datazones of the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland, according to the SIMD, an increase from 19 in 2012. The adjacent areas of Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes also show an increase, up from 21 to 23 and from 11 to 16 respectively.

‘‘Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise have invested a lot of time, energy and money in developing this facility, recently installing an additional quay to improve the throughput of the site.

‘‘They have also recently built a Low Carbon Industrial site nearby to encourage other companies to the area to provide support to the Energy Park, who do not need to be located in the Energy Park.’’

Concern also came from Anas Sarwar MSP, who is bidding to be the next Scottish Labour leader.,

He tweeted: ‘‘Very concerning reports about BiFab. It’s a major employer in Fife and the Western Isles. All parties should work together to prevent closure.’’

Former Fife Council leader, Christine May, called from immediate cross-party action, tweeting: ‘‘Saving BiFab should be no 1 priority.’’

Claire Baker MSP said it was ‘‘vital’’ the Scottish Government stepped in amid fears any slide into administration would also impact badly on a number of suppliers.

GMB, one of two unions which represents the yard’s workforce, said any closure would be a hammer blow.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said he would be holding urgent meetings in a bid to find a solution.