Holyrood provides £6m for Tullis Russell support taskforce

Tullis RussellThe Scottish Government has announced an initial £6 million of financial support for economic growth in Fife following the announcement on Monday of hundreds of job losses at paper-maker Tullis Russell.

Holyrood officials said the money will used in part to help fund retraining for the workforce at the Markinch plant, which went into administration this week.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the plant later today, during which he will meet staff and management, the Deputy First Minister John Swinney pledged that the cash will go to support the work of the Fife Taskforce in supporting economic recovery and growth locally.

Mr Swinney also announced that the first meeting of the taskforce will take place this Thursday.

John Swinney
John Swinney

The Deputy First Minister said: “This is a very anxious time for the workers at Tullis Russell, their families and indeed the wider community across Fife.

“Particularly in a small town the size of Markinch, the potential impact of these job losses cannot be underestimated.

“We are therefore making an immediate and initial financial investment of £6 million to support the work of the Fife Taskforce. This money will provide additional support for skills development, training and support for local businesses. We will work with Fife Council to ensure these additional resources complement existing activity and support economic growth in this part of Fife.

“It will help support the creation of new jobs and especially to help with skills retraining to ensure the Tullis Russell staff who have lost their jobs are in the best possible position to move quickly in to new positions.

“Already, Scottish Enterprise officials are working with the company and administrators KPMG to explore all possible avenues of support and Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) teams – the Scottish Government’s initiative for responding to redundancy situations – are working with the administrators to provide support to affected employees, including arranging a PACE Redundancy Support Event within the next few weeks.

“The joint taskforce, which I will co-chair with David Ross, the leader of Fife Council, will meet on Thursday to start working on the most immediate priorities.

“It will work with KPMG to try to secure an alternative owner and look for ways to help mitigate these job losses – particularly by establishing appropriate support for workers to help them back into new jobs and training.

“The taskforce will determine the focus and priority of the £6 million spend as part of the wider economic support for this community and the Fife economy. It is important that this investment is focussed on supporting the immediate workers but also fits within the wider economic plans for this area and the wider economy.

“The taskforce membership will include all the key economic agencies and partners that contribute to the Fife economy to ensure we build on existing plans in response to this situation. I have already written to party leaders to ensure the taskforce has broad representation from across Parliament.

“It will also work alongside PACE, which aims to minimise the time that people affected by redundancy are out of work by providing skills development and employability support.

Fife Council Leader David Ross added: “This initial investment of £6 million is welcome start and will go some way to helping regenerate the area and begin the process of creating more jobs for local people. However undoubtedly more investment will be needed to make sure Fife’s economy continues to thrive.”

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