Hall's of Broxburn closure risk
Finance Secretary John Swinney will launch a coordinated public/private sector response to safeguard jobs and food industry opportunities following today’s announcement by Vion Food UK to consult on the future of its plant at Broxburn.
Mr Swinney will meet with senior management and staff at the plant this afternoon. In preparation for these discussions, Mr Swinney announced the immediate establishment of a taskforce comprising company representatives, Usdaw, West Lothian Council, the MP and MSP for the area, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland, Job Centre Plus and Quality Meat Scotland.
The taskforce will hold its first meeting in Broxburn this evening and will explore all options for the future of the company and its business, provide support for the workforce and mitigate any possible wider impacts.
Vion Food Group Ltd produces and processes beef, lamb, pork, bacon and chicken as well as a wide range of convenience products such as sausages and cooked meats.
Speaking at Vion Foods in Broxburn, John Swinney said:
“This is an extremely disappointing announcement putting at risk 1700 jobs. I met with senior company executives and staff this afternoon to pledge the support of the Scottish Government as we look at opportunities for the site and the workforce here.
“This plant has faced threats to its future on two previous recent occasions and through efforts involving all interested parties have delivered a positive way forward. We must work to ensure that can be achieved in these difficult circumstances. I recognise that this will be a particularly worrying time for workers at the Broxburn plant. The Scottish Government and its partners will do all that we can to support the workforce and local community through this period.
“My first action is to convene a special taskforce in Broxburn this evening which will look at all opportunities for the current business, provide full support for workers and will ensure all parties work closely together to minimise the impact of this development on the local community.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“This is a deeply disappointing situation and one which will have ramifications both locally and nationally.
“That’s why we have moved swiftly and set up the taskforce to work with the company to minimise the impact of the potential closure and I have already met with NFUS, Quality Meat Scotland and Scottish Pig Producers to discuss a way forward. This is clearly a challenging time for Scotland’s pig industry, who will understandably be concerned about today’s announcement, but all the taskforce members are determined to work together to find solutions.
“Scotland is rightly famed for the high quality of its food and drink and Scottish pork is an important part of this – our task now is to ensure that this continues to be the case and that’s what all those involved are working to achieve.”