£6 million to support Fife Taskforce
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 LLP 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.
This £6 million investment demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to do everything we can to support economic recovery and growth in the local community in Markinch, Glenrothes and mid-Fife, and when I meet Tullis Russell staff later today I will be giving them my personal commitment that we will leave no stone unturned.