Page last updated at 01:18 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 02:18 UK

Textile job decline 'devastating'

Employee numbers in the textile sector have fallen sharply

The number of people employed in the textile industry in Scotland has more than halved in the space of a decade.

Figures released by the Scottish Government show the total fell from 19,100 in 1997 to 7,500 by 2007.

Two constituencies in the Borders have seen employee numbers in the sector drop from 4,600 to 2,000.

Tory MSP John Lamont (Roxburgh and Berwickshire) said people in the region were well aware of the "devastating consequences of this decline".

The figures were obtained via a request from a fellow-Conservative, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Elizabeth Smith.

Banff & Buchan 200 (300)*
Kilmarnock & Loudoun 400 (1,600)
Roxburgh & Berwickshire 1,400 (2,900)
Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale 600 (1,700)
Western Isles 100 (300)
Scotland 7,500 (19,100)
* Figures refer to 2006 not 2007

They detail the national total, as well as statistics from a handful of constituencies.

Figures were considered confidential for other areas where it could have led to the identification of a particular business.

However, where statistics have been released they mirror the national decline in employee numbers.

Banff and Buchan, Kilmarnock and Loudoun, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale and the Western Isles have all seen figures fall.

Recent losses

Mr Lamont said figures had more than halved in his own constituency in the Scottish Borders from 2,900 to 1,400.

He criticised both the Scottish and UK governments for their "neglect" of the textile industry in the Borders.

"Unless we support this important industry, we cannot hope of providing a future for our young people," he warned.

The Borders region has suffered a number of job losses in the sector in recent times.

In March, Jedburgh Kiltmakers closed its doors with the loss of 31 posts.

Prior to that Hawick Knitwear confirmed it was to shed a similar number of jobs.

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