AS THE Scottish Farmer went to press this week, no saviour had arisen for the Halls of Broxburn pigmeat processing plant – but its owners Vion stopped short of announcing a closure schedule, instead allowing another week for the effort to forge a rescue package.
after a midweek meeting between Vion, industry representatives and rural affairs CabSec Richard Lochhead, an NFU Scotland spokesman said: "Vion has decided to extend the period for outside offers for the plant until next week which buys us more time, although it is still difficult to see what the outcome will be.
"It is reassuring to watch all parts of the industry working closely together to ensure as positive a result as possible for Scotland's pigs sector.
That confidence is buoyed by the fact that the Specially Selected Pork brand is in high demand at home and abroad and that Scotland is well placed to continue to maintain production of high quality pork."
If the plant closes, there is no doubt it will have a severe effect on Scotland's pig industry, particularly in the short term as producers pay the extra costs of getting their meat processed elsewhere.
NFU Scotland's pigs committee chairman, Philip Sleigh said: "I think it will be challenging to find a short term resolution, hopefully other abattoirs take up the slack.
The ultimate aim would be to have Scottish pigs slaughtered in Scotland, but that may take time.
"I expect that if the unit actually announces its closure, other units will make clear their plans. Certainly for us, closure would add £6.50 per pig for the extra haulage and shrinkage.
In the long term, that's not a place we want to be in Scotland, we need pigs to be slaughtered here," stressed Mr Sleigh.
If Halls of Broxburn does indeed close, it will also reduce the levy paid to QMS by a substantial amount.
Chief executive 'Uel Morton said no provision had been made to the promotional body's accounts for the closure of the plant and loss of its slaughter levy.
Mr Morton estimated the loss to QMS in levy fees, following closure, would be £500,0000, with income reduced from £723,000 to £223,000.
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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