Local Labour MSP Colin Smyth has warned that Young’s Seafood shouldn’t be allowed to profit from the job losses facing Pinneys workers.
The comments come as some politicians have called for the Scottish Government to use taxpayers money to buy the Pinneys site on Stapleton Road from Young’s Seafood.
Colin Smyth has repeated his call made earlier in the week for Young’s to hand over the site, pointing to the fact the factory was now a liability for the company who would face a rates bill of over £110,000 a year when it closes and the current factory is likely to need demolished.
The local MSP believes that the focus of Government investment should be on creating jobs in the area, which could include creating new business units on the site, but funding should not go to Young’s seafood.
Last week Colin Smyth told the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing that £10million of investment alone would be needed in the Annan area to invest in an ‘Action Plan’ to mitigate against the closure of Pinneys.
The MSP also believes the DG12 area should be given the status of an Enterprise Area by the Scottish Government which would entitle businesses to claim 100% business rates relief, provide allowances for capital investment, a more streamlined planning process and support with skills and training.
Colin Smyth said, “I think there would be anger from workers at Pinneys toward politicians saying that taxpayers money should go to Young’s Seafood and which would allow them to profit from these job losses. When Pinneys closes, Young’s will still face a business rates bill of a £110,000 a year on top of any spending to keep the building safe and wind and watertight. Pinney’s is in a good location and there will be interest in the site but no one wants the existing factory because it is unsuitable and can’t be easily subdivided into smaller units, so it will need to be demolished.
The site may be an asset for the local economy but it is a liability for Young’s so they should be asked to hand it over to take it off their books. Maybe if the Conservative/ Lib Dem Coalition UK Government hadn’t cut the redundancy consultation period from 90 days to 45 days, the future of the site could have been properly explored during that process. It’s time the Scottish and UK Government started to work together and put their hand in their pocket to invest in job creation in the area. They should also designate Enterprise Area status which would entitle local businesses to claim 100% business rates relief, provide allowances for capital investment, a more streamlined planning process and support with skills and training. So far all we have had from the Scottish Government is £250,000 to develop an Action Plan and not a single penny from the UK Government”.