Local economy needs help

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LABOUR Candidate, Willie Scobie, has repeated his call for a “summit meeting” of all concerned organisations to examine ways forward for the economy of the Galloway region.

Mr Scobie says that this is now a matter of urgency following the collapse of local building company R&D.

The Scottish Parliament candidate met with R&D workers last week and also with the administrators Ernst and Young and a number of issues were identified.

He said: “The workers raised immediate concerns which were addressed – first, redundancy notices have been issued which allows the workforce to lodge a claim for redundancy payments.

“Secondly, all wages and holiday entitlement owed have been paid and thirdly, arrangements have been made for workers to retrieve their own tools from the company’s sites.

“We have also had a very constructive meeting with DGHP which has assured us that they will be seeking a buyer for the regeneration contracts as soon as possible. It is vital that this work is continued and completed.

“Whilst this deals with pressing problems, the situation is far from satisfactory and the greater, strategic issues are not being addressed.”

“The R&D collapse is part of, and has thrown into sharp relief, an over-all decline in the economic performance of the area and we need to look at the structural problems behind this.

“We need to be looking at educational and training provision and any infrastructure requirements not in isolation but in a planned co-ordinated way.

“The only way to do this is for all of the organisations, public and private sectors, those representing employers and employees, educational and training providers and any other interested parties, to come together with a common purpose to identify and offer solutions to these problems.

“ I am therefore asking Dumfries and Galloway Council to organise and facilitate a summit meeting for all concerned.

“The setback with R&D and its effect on the regeneration work in Stranraer and Dumfries just make the need for action all the more urgent.”

The Labour candidate confirmed that his priorities, if elected, will be jobs, education and training:

“We need to provide good, relevant educational and training courses for our young people and, equally important, we must ensure that their efforts in securing qualifications lead to good quality local jobs; jobs with a future which will encourage them to stay here and bring up their families here.

“This is the only way to secure the future for the region of Dumfries and Galloway.”