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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-08383: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 24 March 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to (a) sustain existing and (b) attract new manufacturing jobs in Livingston and West Lothian.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 24 April 2017

This Scottish Government continues to work closely with its partners in the region to deliver the West Lothian Economic Growth Plan, which was agreed following the announcement in 2012 that the Halls of Broxburn plant would close with the loss of 1,700 jobs. The Plan sets out a range of interventions, including those that support manufacturing jobs and businesses, and contributes to inclusive economic growth in the West Lothian area and through this to National outcomes.

We have supported the delivery of the Plan with £12 million of additional resource which, along with existing budgets, represents an overall package of financial support of £29 million to strengthen the West Lothian economy. The independent 3 year evaluation of the 5 year Plan, completed in March 2016, demonstrated that interventions that formed part of the Plan had, at that time, supported the creation of 2,395 additional jobs and had specifically supported 450 former Halls employees with training to assist them in finding new employment.

Future activity will continue to develop the West Lothian business base with grants and investment explicitly linked to creating new jobs and to support a growing and more resilient economy, strengthening West Lothian businesses to make them more competitive. The Plan supports manufacturing companies through, for example, capacity building and diversification, and will continue to do so going forward.

In addition to that targeted support, our main economic development agency in the area, Scottish Enterprise, works with Scottish Development International, the investment and trade promotion agency of the Scottish Government, to promote West Lothian as an inward investment location. Scottish Enterprise currently account manages 93 companies in West Lothian; a high number of which are involved in manufacturing, and Scottish Enterprise works intensively with these 93 companies to support their growth ambitions. By way of example, the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, an arm of our Enterprise agency activities, delivers specialist advice, one-to-one support and training for manufacturing businesses of all sizes in West Lothian. The Scottish Government is engaging with stakeholders to respond to potential impacts of potential job losses in both manufacturing companies and the potential loss of HMRC jobs.