THREE parties are interested in bidding for a closure-threatened meat processing plant, the Finance Secretary has said.
Vion Food UK announced in July that it is consulting on the future of its Hall’s of Broxburn factory, putting about 1700 jobs at risk. The consultation closes in just over two weeks’ time.
Last week the Scottish Government announced that it and its partners on a taskforce set up to try to save the plant are willing to buy the West Lothian factory and lease it back the parent company “on a commercial basis”.
This proposal was turned down by Vion because the offer, it said, is below the amount required to resolve “the core legacy problems at the site” and would only serve to delay any potential decision regarding closure.
Speaking at Holyrood, John Swinney said: “The company will continue dialogue with any interested buyers. As I understand it, there has been a further expression of interest in Halls in recent days.
“I have already met with one of the groups of bidders personally in my office and my officials have spoken with two others, making three interested parties at this stage.
“The government is only too prepared to advance dialogue with those parties to find if there is a way we can maintain employment at the Hall’s of Broxburn site.”
Work is also being done to support staff at the factory at an uncertain time, Mr Swinney said.
Officials from Skills Development Scotland and Jobcentre Plus are at the site to give presentations to all workers there.
“The economic impact on a very specific labour market in West Lothian would be significant if the plant were to close,” Mr Swinney said.