Tax breaks and government grants are ready to be deployed in the battle to save Dundee’s Michelin plant, says the Finance Secretary.
Derek Mackay has three weeks to prepare a rescue package for the Baldovie plant before presenting it to company executives. The campaign to protect the 845 jobs starts in earnest on Monday, when Mr Mackay hosts the first meeting of the action group.
Michelin revealed plans earlier this week to close the site in 2020, blaming a drop in customer demand and cheaper rival products from Asia.
Mr Mackay said the package he proposes to the executive group at Michelin will be based on “innovative interventions and potentially financial support”.
“I’ve said that I will look again at additional resources, it might be tax incentives, it might be enterprise grants, there is a range of things we can do,” he said.
“The mission is to retain the plant and repurposing potentially around diversification if that ensures a future for the plant in Dundee.”
He said he “will find a way” in partnership with Dundee City Council to slash rates bills at the site if required.
“That doesn’t address the competitive issue or the Asian imports,” he added. “That’s where the UK Government comes into play.”
Mr Mackay met with the Scottish Secretary on Wednesday, where he urged him to raise the UK Government’s contribution to the Tay Cities Deal by £50 million.
He said: “The support I’m calling for from the UK Government is specifically around additionality for the cities deal, or extra support from the industrial strategy, or indeed a sector deal that supports the Michelin plant specifically and I need real action from the UK Government.”
The Scottish Government said it asked the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to attend next week’s launch of the action group.
Mr Mackay said: “I’ve invited the Business Secretary and the junior minister. They say they cannot attend, that’s unfortunate, but hopefully the Secretary of State (for Scotland) comes.”
Asked if he was disappointed there was no firm commitment from Mr Mundell, the MSP said: “I’m a busy man too but I’m going to be there on Monday.”