THE 450 people who lost their jobs following the closure of Young’s owned Pinneys salmon site at Annan have been forgotten, according to a local member of the Scottish parliament.
Speaking in Holyrood during a debate on the regional economy, Colin Smyth, the Labour MSP for South Scotland, said the community were told no stone would be left unturned to convince Young’s Seafood to change its mind.
‘They were then promised everything would be done to find a buyer for the factory,’ he said. ‘Then they were told support would be given to help those losing their jobs find alternative employment.
‘In truth, since the closure announcement was made, just £250,000 has been invested by the Scottish government directly to support the Pinney’s workforce – and that came from the existing budget of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership.
‘We need an investment of £10 million in a proper Economic Action Plan for Annan; not just £250,000.’
Smyth said after the debate that while the responsibility for the closure lay with Young’s, there were no alternative jobs for the 450 people who were made redundant when the factory closed last summer and salmon production was transferred to Grimsby. The factory is now boarded up with a sale notice outside.
Young’s announced the closure last April around the same time it put the company up for sale. Many people believed that the closure of Pinneys was speeded up to make a sale more attractive, but that process may have stalled, according to reports.
Three months ago, the private equity firm CapVest appeared to be closing in on a deal which would have reunited it with the UK’s largest seafood business.
The current private equity owners, led by Lion Capital, said last April they were putting Young’s up for sale through a structured bidding process, with the hope that a deal could be completed by autumn last year.
But talks have dragged on for longer than expected because it believed no one has come up with the right offer.
It emerged during the summer that three main bidders were in the frame. They included the Japanese corporate giant Mitsubishi, which has a separate food division and owns the Norwegian salmon company Cermaq, a UK fishing quota consortium, and CapVest, which bought Young’s for £137 million in 2002 before selling it on six years later.
But now it has been suggested that CapVest’s interest has cooled and that Young’s is looking at other alternatives. Young’s has so far declined to comment on the reports.
Picture: Labour MSP Colin Smyth – investment of £10 million is needed