Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:25 UK

Job cuts at Harris Tweed company

Kenneth Mackenzie mill. Picture by Norman Campbell

A Harris Tweed mill in Stornoway is to cut 36 jobs, it has emerged.

The owner of the Kenneth Mackenzie mill said the cuts were necessary to help the industry survive.

It is understood the majority of the redundancies will affect people who have worked at the firm for less than two years.

The company is owned by businessman Brian Haggas, whose plans to streamline the industry met with a mixed response when he announced them last year.

Mr Haggas, from Yorkshire, said he wanted to reduce the number of tweed patterns to just five and focus on producing upmarket men's jackets.

He bought the Kenneth Mackenzie group, which produces 95% of Harris Tweed, in December 2006 after it had been on the market for four years.

The announcement on jobs has concerned the Harris Tweed Authority and Western Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan.

Mr Allan said he had sought a meeting with Mr Haggas to discuss his plans for the future.

The MSP said: "Many inside the industry had huge reservations from the outset about Mr Haggis's strategy for Harris Tweed, and this is now being amplified, after yesterday's significant announcement about job losses.

"I will also be arranging meetings with government agencies and weavers to discuss this issue."

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