POTENTIAL buyers are being sought who could run the closure-threatened Hall’s of Broxburn food plant “profitably and successfully” in an effort to save 1,700 jobs at the plant, finance secretary John Swinney has confirmed.
• John Swinney cautious after ‘encouraging progress’ following meeting of task force
• 1700 jobs are under threat following Dutch owner Vion announcing a consultation on the possible shutdown of Halls’
• Taskforce is examining finances whilst Scottish Enterprise are identifying potential process improvements and savings
Supermarket giant Morrison’s has been touted as a potential saviour after Dutch owner Vion said it was running up losses of £79,000 a day. But Mr Swinney insisted these losses were not “set in stone” after chairing a taskforce aimed at saving the factory yesterday.
Mr Swinney said: “The government can’t acquire companies like this, this is a private company, but what the government can do is engage in dialogue with a range of parties that would have an interest in the plant.
“Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise are pursuing that discussion in the marketplace with the objective of encouraging different players who could run this plant profitably and successfully.”
The closure would also hit Scotland’s farming industry, with 8,000 pigs slaughtered there each week. Alasdair Cox, director of corporate affairs at Vion, said employees were being given weekly updates.
Local council leader John McGinty added: “Hall’s is a very important employer here in West Lothian –1,700 jobs and a very high concentration of employees who live here. It’s very important from the council’s perspective that we try and secure a future for the plant.”