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Council takes Diageo plant closure case to Scottish government

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 25-Aug-2009

Members of East Ayrshire Council are to meet with Scottish Cabinet Secretary John Swinney later today to thrash out alternative plans to Diageo's controversial plan to close its Kilmarnock-based bottling plant.


The closure of the Kilmarnock bottling facility, which packages brands including Johnnie Walker whiskey, together with two other plants would see a total of 900 jobs lost.


East Ayrshire Council will present its own business case to Swinney partly in response to a BDO Stoy Hayward report commissioned by Scottish Enterprise which, while confidential, is understood to have backed the commercial argument behind Diageo's proposal to close the plant.


In a statement East Ayrshire Council said: "Whilst the BDO Stoy Hayward report contained a number of factual inaccuracies, the one thing to emerge from that report was that there are other viable alternatives and we have been working day and night since our last meeting with John Swinney to develop these options further.


"We are still working on the detail of this report as we make this statement, but look forward to our meeting with the Cabinet Secretary later today," it said.


A source at the council said that if the closure went ahead the job losses involved would push Kilmarnock's unemployment rate to nearly seven per cent, the highest in Scotland.


The council's statement added that as soon as it was able to share details of the BDO report it would do so.


Referring to the BD Stoy Hayward report, a spokeswoman from Scottish Enterprise said: "This is a confidential draft report, which contains sensitive commercial information, so it would be inappropriate to comment on this."

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