Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 16:21 UK

Diageo cuts may cost town 15.5m

Protest poster
Diageo plans to close its Kilmarnock plant with the loss of 700 jobs

Diageo's planned closure of the Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock could cost the East Ayrshire economy up to £15.5m a year, MSPs have been told.

John Swinney also said the plans could eventually cost the public sector up to £20,000 a year for every job lost.

The finance secretary was quoting from an unpublished report which assessed the impact of Diageo's plans.

The drinks giant wants to close its Kilmarnock plant and Glasgow distillery with the loss of up to 900 jobs.

The majority of the job losses - 700 - would come with the closure of the Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock.

Diageo said these would be off-set by the creation of up to 400 new posts in Fife.

'Devastating effects'

During a statement at Holyrood, Mr Swinney gave details of the unpublished study, which was carried out for East Ayrshire Council and Scottish Enterprise.

"These are very telling figures and demonstrate the scale of Diageo's contribution to these communities and the devastating effects their actions would have on them," he said.

"Nine hundred job losses in the west of Scotland, particularly in the current economic climate, represent a body blow, not only to the individuals likely to be affected but to the wider community and local economies."

He said the Scottish Government was now considering holding a whisky industry summit.



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