South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has expressed his concern over plans to cut jobs at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) as part of changes to their veterinary disease surveillance services. 

As a result of budget pressures, the SRUC plan to introduce a new model to carry out their post-mortem examinations on dead livestock, which will lead to the loss of 35 laboratory and administrative posts across Scotland with sites including Ayr, St Boswells and Dumfries in the South of Scotland at risk of job cuts. 

Work previously carried out at sites in Ayr will now be centralised but the post-mortem facilities in Dumfries and St Boswells will remain. 

Commenting on the news Colin Smyth said, “Any loss of jobs is a real blow, particularly in rural areas where skilled posts are all too often few and far between. My thoughts are very much with those affected shoes skills have provided such a valuable service to agriculture locally. It highlights the human impact of the budget cuts being imposed on our colleges by the Government”.

“It is vital that any changes do not have an adverse impact on the services provided. I know there are concerns in those areas losing facilities that because dead livestock will have to be transported further at extra cost, some farmers may not send animals for post-mortems and that could impact on our understanding of animal disease”. 

“In Dumfriesshire at a time the SRUC are planning investment and more jobs at the Barony, it is disappointing that jobs may be lost at the Dumfries Disease Surveillance Centre”

“In Ayrshire there will be real anger at this news coming so soon on the back of plans to by the SRUC to close its Riverside campus”

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