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Scottish Government Support for Halls of Broxburn

19 September 2012, at 10:00am

UK - Threatened meat processing plant Halls of Broxburn could have been thrown a lifeline by the Scottish government.

Last week the Taskforce established to work to secure a future of the Vion Food Group plant was updated on the recent steps that have been taken by the Scottish Government, West Lothian Council and other partners to address the situation.

Speaking after the fourth meeting of the Taskforce in Broxburn, Scottish government Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The Scottish Government has been working closely with a range of agencies over the last few weeks to produce a range of measures that can be taken to deliver a sustainable future for the plant at Halls of Broxburn.

"The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service has worked closely with the company to identify improvements to the performance of the plant. Savings of about 34 million have been identified, which, along with other energy efficiency and sales and marketing measures could significantly improve the financial performance of Halls.

"I have also formulated a substantial proposal that would see the Government, working with West Lothian Council and Scottish Enterprise, purchasing and leasing back the Halls site on a commercial basis to enable significant capital investment to be made.

"Along with the Leader of West Lothian Council, Cllr John McGinty, I put these proposals last week to Peter Bekkers the Chief Operating Officer at Vion International.

"Vion - whilst welcoming the innovative nature of the proposals - has advised the Taskforce today that the proposal is not sufficient to be acceptable to the company.

"The Taskforce is now concentrating on identifying profitability improvements, engaging with retailers to sustain contracts at Halls, providing advice to employees and working with two potential bidders to secure investment and we would invite any other interested parties to come forward.

"The Taskforce will meet again in early October."

The 90 day consultation period ends on 3 October.