South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is calling for “no stone to be left unturned to stop job losses” at the Brown Brothers plant in Kelloholm, after the firm announced they had begun formal consultation with employees over redundancies.

The meat-processing firm has seen a downturn during the coronavirus pandemic, which led to staff being furloughed under the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme. As the scheme begins to be phased out, the company have announced they are considering cutting jobs at the plant.

Colin Smyth is now urging the UK, Scottish Government along with the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to work together to try to avoid job cuts.

Colin Smyth said: “This is really devastating news for the staff that could be affected by job cuts and my thoughts are very much with them and their families.

“It was always my fear that when the UK Government began ending the job retention scheme, that many staff who had been furloughed by the companies in the region would be made redundant. That’s why I have been calling for the scheme to be extended to give companies time to adapt and rebuild. Sadly that hasn’t happened and we are seeing the consequences.

“We now need both Governments and the new Enterprise Agency to come together to provide what support they can. No stone should be left unturned to stop these job losses. This is a company that has consistently grown since they were established in the area and the fact they are resorting to possible job cuts highlights the scale of the economic tsunami hitting our region.

“Upper Nithsdale already suffers from higher than average levels of unemployment and those numbers have doubled in recent weeks. More job cuts is the last thing the area needs.”

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