Action needed to secure jobs

Colin Smyth says more investment is needed.
Colin Smyth says more investment is needed.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has challenged the UK and Scottish Governments to “wake up” to the current employment situation in Dumfriesshire after an announcement that 14 jobs are under threat at the Arla creamery near Lockerbie.

The proposed cuts are as a result of plans by the company to move packing from Dumfriesshire creamery to their base in Shropshire. In Annan, meanwhile, Young’s Seafood announced that the Pinney’s plant in the town will close at the end of the year.

Mr Smyth said: “This will be devastating for anyone losing their job at the creamery and my thoughts are very much with those affected. It is yet another hammer blow to an already fragile local economy on the back of the decision by Edinburgh Woollen Mill to leave Langholm and Pinneys in Annan.

“Sadly the local area is simply haemorrhaging jobs and you have to ask when will the UK and Scottish Governments wake up to the employment crisis facing the area. “When big businesses make decisions like this it is almost impossible to get them to change their mind but the bigger problem we face is the shortage of alternative employment in the area for those affected. That is down to a lack of investment in our local infrastructure, but also in supporting existing businesses to grow and attracting new ones to the region.”

Annandale North Councillor Adam Wilson added: “The local community will be disappointed by this decision. Some people may argue it is a small number of posts being axed in a workforce of over 300 but behind every job loss are local families and their livelihoods being lost. I will be urging all local agencies to provide as much support as possible to help them get back into work as soon as possible if these job cuts are confirmed.”