THE likely closure of Hall’s of Broxburn would be a devastating blow to the region.
The announcement yesterday that the meat processing factory faces closure with the loss of 1700 jobs came as a bolt from the blue.
No-one was prepared for the news that leaves hundreds of families facing life without a breadwinner and scores of businesses fearing the knock-on effect. The outlook for some will be bleak.
The response, at least from the Scottish Government, local council and enterprise agencies, has been swift. Talks are under way to see if there is any possibility of saving the factory, even at this late hour, and vital support is promised should the expected closure be confirmed. That support should include both short-term help for those who find themselves looking for work in a tough environment and continuing and determined efforts to lure new employers to the region.
West Lothian, of course, is no stranger to such dramatic and painful job losses. There is a reason why the Proclaimers sang “Bathgate no more” in Letter From America, their elegy to Scotland’s disappearing industrial heartland in the 1980s. The closure of British Leyland which inspired that line was just one of a series of major job blows, notably including Levi’s in Whitburn and Motorola in Bathgate, which came after the shutting of the region’s mines.
If there is a silver lining, it is that West Lothian has proved more resilient than many expected in the past, bouncing back from setback after setback. With excellent transport links by both rail and road, and a flexible and dedicated workforce, the region continues to have much to offer prospective employers.
Today, the future looks bleak, but there are good reasons for these communities to not give up hope.
It is one of the most iconic streets in the world, yet visitors to Princes Street Gardens have found themselves being greeted by the sign “Princess Street”. For residents who have lived a lifetime in the city, it is a gender-bending error that wrankles and marks out tourist from local.
The fact that such an error should have emanated from the council magnifies the mistake a hundredfold.
Of course, all of us err on our spelling from time to time. Even the Evening News. But this is a official sign which should have stood for several years. A little extra proof reading might have been appropriate.
Readers who are particularly upset might like to contact council leader Andrew Bruns or deputy Steve Carwodnie to register their complaint.