South Scotland

First minister 'very disappointed' by Edinburgh Woollen Mill move

EWM in Langholm Image copyright Google
Image caption The company plans to move its head office out of Langholm to Carlisle

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said her government will do "all it can" to persuade Edinburgh Woollen Mill to keep its head office in Scotland.

The company has confirmed plans to move it from Langholm to Carlisle.

Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell raised concerns about the impact of the plans in the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Sturgeon said she was "very disappointed" with the move and said Enterprise Minister Paul Wheelhouse was already in talks with the company.

EWM confirmed on Wednesday that it planned to take its head office - and 190 staff - out of Langholm to Carlisle.

It said no redundancies were expected with the switch, which is likely to happen at the end of July.

'Bitter blow'

The company intends to retain the building in Langholm - the town where it was founded more than 70 years ago - in the hope of creating a heritage centre.

Mr Mundell described it as a "bitter blow" and asked what support was being offered to the area.

The first minister replied: "Firstly, I am very disappointed to hear that EWM have confirmed plans to move their head office from Langholm.

"The company's plans unfortunately do seem to be fairly well developed.

"Notwithstanding that we will do all we can to encourage a different course of action, to retain jobs and economic benefit in the town and community and importantly the company's HQ in Scotland."

'Tourist destination'

The company stressed there were no job losses attached to its plans with staff able to commute to Carlisle.

It confirmed that it had been in talks with Mr Wheelhouse to realise its plans to turn Langholm into a "vibrant tourist destination".

"Our vision is to create a flourishing new tourist economy," a spokesperson said.

"Situated on the A7 to Edinburgh, Langholm is perfectly positioned to become an attractive destination to welcome national and international tourists into Scotland."

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