MP demands answers over Gartcosh jobs

Tom Clarke MP at the entrance of Gartcosh Industrial Park 27.7.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes
Tom Clarke MP at the entrance of Gartcosh Industrial Park 27.7.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes

AN MP has called for ‘action’ after unemployment figures showed more than 3,000 people out of work in his constituency.

MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill Tom Clarke hit out after Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures for June put unemployment at 3,082 - the 132nd highest in the UK.

The area is set for a jobs boost when a new ‘crime campus’ opens on the Gartcosh Industrial Estate - a development which will bring crime fighting agencies from across Scotland together in one place for the first time.

But the £82million project, which was announced in 2004, has been plagued by delays and spiralling costs, and is now not expected to be fully-operational until 2013 - despite original plans to open by last year.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has blamed the delays on the increased “size and scope” of the project, which will be the base for 1,100 crime-fighting officers - 300 more than originally thought.

But Mr Clarke says that it is just one example of how successive governments have failed his constituents.

He said: “I will attend a meeting with Department for Work and Pensions officials and other MPs where we will analyse in some detail the statistics and trends of what has happened in the last year.

“However, my constituents are not statistics. They are decent people, neighbours, friends and families who are worried about their future. They want action from the coalition Government and the Scottish Government.”

He added: “One example is the regeneration of Gartcosh, which started in 1986.

“This was a multi-million pound investment of public money that was spent on creating this new industrial park.

“For far too long there has been a lot of huffing and puffing from the Scottish Government about planned jobs.

“My constituents want answers, and they want them now.”

The industrial park is built on the former Gartcosh Steelworks site. The steelworks closed in 1986.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We are fully committed to the crime campus at Gartcosh. Subject to contract, we remain on track for occupation to start in late 2012.”