The Scottish steel taskforce which aims to rescue the country's last two major steelworks is to meet for the first time.

It was created after steel firm Tata announced the mothballing of its operations at Lanarkshire sites Dalzell and Clydebridge, with the loss of 270 jobs.

The Scottish Government has promised to do everything in its power to secure the future of the industry.

It says the taskforce will focus on finding a new commercial operator for the two plants but it has not ruled out other options. It will also look at ways to support workers facing redundancy.

The group which meets on Thursday is comprised of representatives from Tata, South and North Lanarkshire councils, trade unions, Scottish Enterprise, elected representatives and industry bodies.

The meeting will be chaired by business minister Fergus Ewing.

Tata, which is also cutting 900 jobs in Scunthorpe, blamed a ''flood'' of cheap imports, particularly from China, a strong pound and high electricity prices for the problems facing the industry.

Speaking last week, Mr Ewing said: ''The primary objective is to find another commercial operator. We assess that that is not an easy task.

''We go in this with the full force and activity of the enterprise network, and we will use every means at our disposal to assist any commercial operator that expresses an interest to realise the objective of the continuance of the steel industry in Scotland.''

Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly said details were needed of work to identify future public contracts that could be allocated to the plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge.

He also called on the Scottish Government to clarify what investment it intends to make in the communities.

"Nothing should be off the table for Scottish steel," Mr Kelly said.

"In addition to this, the SNP government must also work with Tata Steel to protect the assets at the Clydebridge and Dalzell plants."

It comes as it emerged an emergency meeting of EU ministers is to be held to discuss the crisis gripping the steel industry.

The move was announced by Business Secretary Sajid Javid who held talks in Brussels yesterday.

Unions had described the meeting as a "PR stunt " as scores of steel workers from across the country lobbied MPs in Parliament to press for urgent help for the industry following a series of job losses.

Thousands of job cuts have been announced in recent days and there are fears of more redundancies.

Mr Javid said his request for an emergency meeting with senior European ministers to discuss the pressures faced by the steel industry had been granted.