An inquiry into the collapse of engineering firm BiFab has moved one step closer, after the UK Government signalled support.
The steel fabrication firm, which has plants in Fife and Lewis, announced it was going into administration last week after failing to secure new contracts.
BiFab’s future had been in doubt since the Scottish Government withdrew financial guarantees supporting the manufacturing of eight offshore wind turbine jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project.
The NnG work would have brought more than 200 workers back to the company’s yards in Methil and Burntisland.
‘Green jobs abandoned’
Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray called for an urgent inquiry into the saga, saying: “Five hundred highly skilled green jobs in Scotland, abandoned.
“It’s not just the Tories that are to blame; unbelievably, the SNP have repeatedly hidden behind the EU state aide rule, despite initially agreeing to support BiFab and then pulling it without notice.
“They’ve ignored a Scottish parliamentary vote to sort it out, and under the SNP’s watch fabrication contracts for offshore wind farms have recently gone almost exclusively where? Overseas.
“The post-Covid recovery has to be about jobs yet both governments are unnecessarily abandoning good clean jobs.”
‘No legal way to intervene’
Scotland Office minister David Duguid said: “We understand from the Scottish Government, who are closest to the company, that there is no commercial way forward that is compatible with state aid.
“The UK Government is equally bound by the same state aid rules, at least for the moment, and therefore there is no legal way for either government to intervene at this stage.”
He added: “This is obviously a disappointing situation and the recent revelation that a private firm bought a majority stake in BiFab for just £4 before it went into administration raises serious questions over how the SNP Scottish Government could pour tens of millions into a company without securing that yard’s future.
“This whole matter requires a proper inquiry.”