Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 17:27 UK

Boot firm to end Scots production

Hunter boots
The boot firm is to cease all production in Scotland

The company which makes the famous Hunter wellington boots is to end all production operations in Scotland.

Hunter Boot Ltd is to close its plant at Heathhall near Dumfries with the loss of up to 22 jobs.

The company has entered into consultation with staff on proposals to move its head office to Edinburgh.

In the process it will also cease all boot production in Scotland and instead source its products from Serbia, China and Brazil.

The previous company to run the operation went into administration in April 2006 with the loss of 48 jobs.

This decision could have an impact on the historic Hunter brand because I think people will question whether they will be able to make the same high quality product outside Scotland
Russell Brown MP

It was saved by a consortium headed by Tory party treasurer Jonathan Marland but subsequently cut further posts.

Now it will end an association with Dumfries and Galloway which goes back about six decades.

"We are entering into consultation over the closure of the site," confirmed managing director Malcolm Cannon.

"It is very sad but I think it was inevitable - we have now only got seven people making boots here.

"Unfortunately, making boots in Scotland is no longer economically sensible."

He said that Edinburgh was a better choice for a head office for the boot company as it moved towards becoming a "global fashion brand".

"It is a frustration but it is life," added Mr Cannon.

"You cannot continue to make stuff in the UK competitively.

"But we won't compromise on quality - it has taken us some time to ensure the quality."

'Deeply disappointing'

Dumfries and Galloway Labour MP Russell Brown said it was a "huge blow" for the area.

"This is deeply disappointing but not surprising news," he said.

He added that he was concerned that more could have been done to retain a presence in the town.

"This decision could have an impact on the historic Hunter brand because I think people will question whether they will be able to make the same high quality product outside Scotland," he said.

Dumfries provost Jack Groom said the news was a major concern for the town.

"It is a big blow for this was a prestigious name and it is another manufacturing industry that has been lost to Dumfries," he said.

"When I look back and see the numbers of my family that worked there in the past it makes me sad to see it closing."




SEE ALSO
Rubber firm makes more job cuts
26 Jan 07 |  South of Scotland
Boot makers seek royalty payments
15 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
Diving firm sold in Swedish deal
08 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
Famous boot company seeks support
19 Jul 06 |  South of Scotland
Buyer found for famous boot firm
28 Apr 06 |  South of Scotland
Job fears at wellington boot firm
11 Apr 06 |  Scotland

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific