Monday 1st February 2016
Inverclyde has suffered its fair share of job losses over recent years but the announcement from Texas Instruments on Wednesday that it intends to shut down its plant came as one of the biggest shocks we have had in a long time.
It literally came out of the blue with no prior warning. The news will be a huge blow to the plant’s highly skilled and committed workforce, their families and the wider community. It’s also a significant blow for Scotland’s manufacturing base.
However, we can’t be paralysed by the shock. The immediate focus must now be on securing a new owner for the plant. We must not leave any stone unturned in this process.
The glimmer of hope is that Texas Instruments have said that they don’t anticipate any immediate redundancies. We therefore have an important window of opportunity to work together to do everything we can to help find a buyer that will maintain the 365 jobs in Greenock.
Inverclyde’s Council Leader Stephen McCabe has set up a taskforce to do just that and I will ensure that as the MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde as you would expect that I will be fully involved.
I’m glad that in response to my emergency question in Parliament the First Minister agreed to ensure that the Scottish Government will put all its support behind the taskforce.
The First Minister also assured me that Scottish Enterprise will engage and work with the company to explore all possible options for supporting the business and retaining jobs.
As well as addressing the immediate issue the taskforce needs to examine the major underlying problem which is the fragility of Inverclyde’s economy. It makes us far more vulnerable to shocks like this.
We need to find ways to strengthen Inverclyde’s manufacturing base by attracting long-term investment and new jobs to the area. Restoring the cuts to our regeneration budget would be a good first step.