Welcome job reassurances from Business minister

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South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed reassurances from the Scottish Government after she’d appealed to them to intervene following the news of potential job losses at Browns Food Group in Kelloholm.

Ms McAlpine had written to the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn MSP last week as soon as the announcement was made. She had asked them to intervene to help prevent redundancies at the factory in Upper Nithsdale.

Mr Hepburn has now responded to the local MSP telling her the Government is on the case.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,

“I welcome the speedy response from Mr Hepburn, it’s clear that the Scottish Government are taking the situation very seriously. The impact of this pandemic on our food producers cannot be underestimated. Although supermarket sales have held up, the closure of the hospitality sector has hit some food producers badly, leaving them struggling to sustain their workforces.

“Mr Hepburn is as concerned as I am at the possibility of redundancies and the effect this is having on employees. He has reassured me that South of Scotland Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise are working closely with the company to explore all the options in order to help retain as many jobs at possible at the site.

“Mr Hepburn has also confirmed that the Scottish Government is continuing to seek assurances from the UK Government that the Job Retention Scheme will continue in some form beyond October – it’s almost certain that many employers across the UK will continue to require this vital lifeline well into next year.

“In the meantime my office will support any workers and families who may be affected. Although parliament is now in recess, I’m still available over the summer to help any constituent who needs assistance. If anyone has concerns they can contact me on 01387 255334 or by email at joan.mcalpine.msp@parliament.scot.”