South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the news that Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, will work with key stakeholders in Langholm to overcome recent economic difficulties in the town and surrounding areas.

Ms McApline’s comments come in the wake of a meeting held in the town between Mr Swinney, Scottish Government officials and representatives from the Council, independent and third sectors.  The meeting was held at the request of Ms McAlpine, who raised concerns following the closure of Reid and Taylor earlier this year.

Government officials will work with local stakeholders to develop four key themes; landscape and tourism, transport, employability and skills, and public service design and delivery.  A follow up meeting will be held with the Cabinet Secretary in a few months time.

Commenting, the SNP MSP said:

“It is great that the Cabinet Secretary has taken such a keen interest in the economic situation in Langholm and I was delighted that he accepted my request to meet with key players to look at the way forward.

“Mr Swinney rightly identified that the local community is very self-starting and, that with a little guidance from the Scottish Government, is well placed to develop the ideas put forward at the meeting into tangible outcomes.”

She added:

“There has been a lot of positive movement on the issue of jobs and employability across the region as a whole, with Russell Brown MP hosting a very welcome jobs summit only last week. 

“In the wake of a similar summit I held in the region last year the Young Recruits Programme, which offers financial support to employers taking on a young person, has now placed its first recruits with Jacquie’s Beauty on the Whitesands, and there are still many opportunities to be explored throughout the region, particularly in the renewables sector.

“Yesterday’s meeting was very positive and I am hopeful that we can work together to achieve the best outcomes in Langholm, but also across the region.”