SCOTTISH ministers have demanded a seat alongside the UK government at emergency European talks on saving Scottish steel this week.

With 270 jobs threatened north of the border, SNP business minister Fergus Ewing insisted Scotland had to be represented at discussions in Brussels in the coming days.

Tory business secretary Sajid Javid told MPs he would try to enlist the support of European Commissioners for “urgent action” on “unfair trade issues” at the gathering.

Indian-owned Tata steel have earmarked the last two Scottish steel plants for closure. The firm blamed a flood of cheap steel from China and high energy costs for its decision to mothball its Dalzell plate rolling works in Motherwell and Clydebridge in Cambuslang. A further 900 jobs are expected to go at Tata’s Scunthorpe plant.

The SNP Government said it will would leave “no stone unturned” looking for a new outside buyer for the Scottish operations, though the lack of a market makes this an uphill task, and no firms have yet expressed an interest to union leaders.

Ewing will update MSPs in a statement to Holyrood on Tuesday, then chair the first meeting of the government’s Scottish Steel Task Force in Hamilton on Thursday.

Last night he said the Scottish Government must also be part of Javid’s mission to counter the dumping of cheap Chinese steel in Europe, which has propelled the closures.

He said: “Steel dumping has been crippling the UK steel industry, yet the UK Government’s approach has been completely inadequate for too long. I welcome the Secretary of State's belated recognition that he urgently needs to do something about it.

“Given the devastating impact that steel dumping has on the Scottish industry, I would like to see the Scottish Government have representation in EU talks to address the problem. The UK Government can also be taking action now and bring forward help for industries with high energy costs.”

The Scottish Government has now written to Javid’s department about the Brussels talks, but has yet to receive a reply.

Thursday’s task force meeting will include representatives from Tata, trade unions and North and South Lanarkshire councils.

Its goal is to “seek a viable alternative” to the loss of Dalzell and Clydebridge, which opened in 1872 and 1887 respectively, and were once at the heart of a Scottish steel industry employing more than 10,000 people at its peak.

Ewing continued: “The Scottish Government’s priority is find a buyer to continue with commercial production and keep as many jobs as possible. Everyone on the Task Force knows how challenging that will be, but we will explore every possible option as fast as possible to meet that shared aim. We will not give up on the steel industry and the workers.”

On Friday, Tata announced £1.5m funding to help job creation in the communities around its Scottish plants - implying it views job losses there as inevitable.

Union leaders said more should be done to safeguard the existing workforce. John Park, assistant general secretary of the steel union Community, said having a Scottish voice in the room in Brussels would be a “positive step”.

He said: “The plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge are different from those in Scunthorpe or Teesside. So there are a range of different aspects to discuss.

“As far as I’m concerned, the more tailored approach we can have to Motherwell and Cambuslang the better, and having a Scottish voice in that discussion would add to that.”

Rutherglen Labour MSP James Kelly, a member of the Scottish Steel Task Force, said the SNP government should consider public ownership of Dalzell and Clydebridge.

He said: “The First Minister has made a lot of promises to the steel workers; it’s now time to see both short and long term support from the Scottish Government and the UK government.

“In addition to funding support for these communities the SNP Government should firstly consider how the steel industry could be supported through the procurement of major infrastructure projects in Scotland. Secondly the SNP Government must work with Tata to protect the assets at the Clydebridge and Dalzell plants.

“The SNP government stepped in to take Prestwick Airport into public hands. This option must be on the table for Clydebridge and Dalzell. Anything less would be unacceptable."

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said no decision had yet been taken on the Scottish Government’s request.

A spokesman said: “The UK Government is in regular contact with the Scottish Government on issues related to the steel industry, including the work of the working groups set up following the Steel Summit and discussions with the EU.”