SNP parliamentarians welcome mill assets sale

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Paul Wheelhouse MSP and Calum Kerr MP have both warmly welcomed the announcements that the assets of Hawick Knitwear have been sold to a new buyer, Lyber 2016 Limited.

Mr Wheelhouse, who is an SNP member of the Scottish Parliament for South of Scotland, said: “This is very welcome news for both Hawick and the 1,700 employed in textiles across the Scottish Borders.

“I have been keeping a close eye on the work being done by Scottish Enterprise and Government officials to support the work of the administrators, KPMG, and the new owners and I am very grateful for their collective efforts and those of the Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP who is keen to support the new venture. I also want to praise Calum Kerr MP for being so active in supporting and liaising with the administrator. The deal will re-establish in the region of 32 jobs and that the new owners have bought the Hawick Knitwear brand and will continue to operate the business from the existing premises.

“Along with this announcement, we are also set to have employment coming at the proposed new Three Stills distillery. And FirstBus is shortly to be actively recruiting for drivers and administration staff in the area and we look forward to the joint Council and Scottish Government Action Plan, arising from the Minister’s summit in Hawick last month, which is expected next week, where I hope other sectors, such as tourism may also feature.

“All this proves that Hawick has a great future and every reason to be confident about its economy going forward. We’ve seen other local politicians talking it down - they should stop dismissing its prospects and show the same confidence in the town that we and others have.

“Let’s be clear about this - Hawick has great people, a fantastic heritage and a real spirit of dynamism. It has some fantastic opportunities and we need to all pull together and make the most of those and I am convinced that the Scottish Government, its agencies and the Council will work with the community to do exactly that.”

“Calum and I have not been able to say anything on this deal until now, as we had to wait until the deal was concluded. Negotiations were sensitive and had to be allowed to run their course. The integrity of the sale had to be respected and of course we’ve done that – it is for others to look to their own actions on this. I just want to wish the company and its employees every success and we will both be willing to support the new venture in whatever way we can.”

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP Calum Kerr commented: “Both Paul Wheelhouse and I are delighted that this deal has been done and that jobs and the Hawick Knitwear brand have been preserved.

“The original company had particular and unique trading problems which are not reflected across the rest of the knitwear sector locally. The industry is doing really well, by recognising that its future lies in providing luxury products such as cashmere for a discerning global market and there are of course real successes in companies such as the successful acquisition of Barrie’s by Chanel.

“We do have to recognise the reality that companies have to be highly efficient and streamlined and that there won’t be as many jobs in the sector as there were in the past. But by adapting to this changing market, Hawick has secured its place and name as a top class provider of high end knitwear products.”

He continued: “By continuing to make the most of its skills and opportunities, Hawick has a strong future as a driver of growth and prosperity in the Borders. People in the town should be proud of what they have and I’m sure they’ll share the determination Paul and I have to make things even better.

“Both of us are more than happy to help in any way we can both with building the market growth of Hawick Knitwear and of promoting both the town and our region going forward. We’re sure that there are plenty of economic successes to come.”