South Scotland

'All options' explored at Pinneys site in Annan

Youngs of Pinneys
Image caption The Scottish government said it would look at all options for the future of the site

The Scottish government has said it remains "absolutely committed" to looking at all options for the future of a seafood factory facing closure.

The statement was issued in response to calls for action by MP David Mundell and MSP Oliver Mundell.

They said the Scottish government should buy the Pinneys of Scotland site after a potential purchaser withdrew.

The two politicians said the "last thing" Annan needed was the factory being left to "slowly deteriorate".

They said they were writing to the Scottish government to take on the "ownership, management and marketing" of the site.

'Proactive approach'

The two Conservatives also urged parent company Young's to release the factory at a "knock down price".

"The new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency or Scottish Enterprise should then promote or redevelop the factory," said David Mundell.

"A proactive approach is needed if we are going to get jobs, in whatever form, back on the site."

His son echoed the calls for action in the face of the loss of hundreds of jobs.

"The Scottish government has taken on sites in such situations before," he said.

"In the case of loss-making Prestwick Airport they bought the business as well as facilitating financial support to other companies."

'Working hard'

A Scottish government statement said it was looking at every possibility for the future of the site.

"We have been working to identify and support any potential new investor to the site and last week announced £250,000 to help with the delivery of the Annan Action Plan and regenerate the local area following the closure of Pinneys," it said.

"Our experienced multi-agency Partnership for Action on Continuing Employment (PACE) helped support a dedicated jobs fair in the town last week and we remain absolutely committed to exploring all possible options for the site and are working hard to try and achieve a positive outcome in this regard."

Rates relief

Labour's south of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said he thought the site should be handed over by Young's with no suggestion of any payment being made for it.

"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," he said.

"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."

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