Rowan Glen Yoghurt Factory

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 8 September 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Finlay Carson Finlay Carson Conservative

The First Minister will be aware of the worrying news of the possible closure of Rowan Glen yoghurt factory in my constituency, with the potential loss of 50 jobs. That would be a hugely significant loss of jobs in a rural area, and it could result in the loss of a well-known and respected brand that is located in the heart of Scotland’s milk field. I appreciate that businesses across Scotland face extraordinary pressure, particularly with energy costs, but given the importance of the dairy industry, and the food and drink sector more widely, to Galloway, will the First Minister assure the workforce and other stakeholders that her Government and its agencies are prepared to look at extraordinary solutions, think outside the box and be proactive in exploring every opportunity to give the loyal and skilled workforce the platform to continue producing these much-loved and valued products?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Yes, I will give that assurance. That is the approach that we always take when businesses are in difficulty.

I was certainly very concerned to hear that the Dale Farm group is holding a consultation on the proposed closure of the Rowan Glen dairy factory in Newton Stewart, and I know that this will be a very difficult time for the company’s staff and their families. The people affected by that development are, of course, everybody’s immediate priority, and the Government will do everything in our power to help those affected, including through our PACE—partnership action for continuing employment—initiative.

South of Scotland Enterprise held discussions with the company this week, and it is working closely with it to investigate all areas of potential assistance so that it can provide help to try to mitigate the need for any job losses.

I encourage the Dale Farm group to explore all available options to secure the site’s future and for redeploying any affected staff, to help to minimise the impact on the workforce. I know that the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise has already spoken to local MSPs and will take steps to ensure that they are kept updated.