Diageo has announced its response to the Scottish Executive led Taskforce which aimed to avert to closure of its packaging plant in Kilmarnock and grain distillery in Port Dundas:
Having examined the proposals presented to the company on 3rd September by Scottish Government Finance Secretary John Swinney, Diageo has indicated to Mr Swinney that the Taskforce proposals do not provide a sound basis on which Diageo could build and develop a sustainable business in Scotland, safeguarding 4,000 jobs.
The Taskforce proposal suggested the closure of the existing Hill Street packaging plant in Kilmarnock and the construction of a new plant on a greenfield site near the town. It was also suggested that the closure of the Port Dundas grain distillery in Glasgow could be delayed pending a change in market conditions.
David Gosnell, Managing Director Diageo Global Supply, said: “We greatly appreciate the effort by all concerned in the Taskforce and the leadership of John Swinney through this very difficult situation.
“We examined the alternative proposals thoroughly. They don’t deliver a business model that would be good for either Diageo or Scotland. We need a sustainable Scottish operation that supports our international spirits business and provides a future for the 4,000 people we would employ in Scotland after this restructuring is completed. I appreciate their efforts but the Taskforce has no workable alternative to deliver what Diageo needs.”
I can just about understand why it would have been thought possible – even if high wishful thinking – to put a stay on the Port Dundas site, but I am at a loss as to why it was thought feasible to build a new site for the Kilmarnock site. The minority SNP Administration has proven itself to be a highly effective state-funded political protest group but, a few noted exceptions aside, there has been a certain something lacking from its awareness of the responsibility which comes with the alure of power.
As the Grumpy Spin-Doctor observes, in the 1980s, its worldview was so parochial that it did not have a formal position Apartheid,whilst even the Wideboy of Peckham knew who Nelson Mandela was.
The reason for Diageo’s pulling the plug is found in the globalized economy which, first made the sites in their previous form a commercial viability – and which Alex Salmond was formerly keen to sew into the Arc of Prosperity – and has now made it more profittable to go elsewhere. Much as I detest this, it was not a scheme cooked up in “London boardrooms” to humiliate Scotland; and Salmond suggested, in between appearances on daytime political discussion programmes.
It was, as Robin Dinwoodie reports is now dawning on the Scottish Executive, a commercial decision made by people who earn 10 times as much as even the First Minister; so would look on yokels pleading with them to give it a little longer in the same way that United Nations mandarins would look on a hick politician observing that small countries have often provided the Secretary General.
Great people to have after a disaster.