Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 18 September 2012 15:07 UK

Topical questions

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the Scottish government stood ready to provide assistance where it could to "support continuity of employment at Hall's of Broxburn", on 18 September 2012.

Mr Swinney said that there were "three interested parties at this stage" and that the Scottish government would be "only too prepared to advance dialogue with these parties".

The finance secretary was answering a question from SNP MSP Colin Keir who asked what progress had been made by the Hall's of Broxburn Taskforce in relation to the company's future

He said the Scottish government remained committed to ensuring there was a positive future for Hall's.

In September the Scottish government, along with West Lothian Council, put a proposal to Hall's owners Vion to buy and lease back the threatened food factory.

The offer was turned down.

Mr Swinney said he estimated it would cost Vion in the region of £17m to 25m to close the plant, and that this was "a negative cost".

He also said he was focussing on of the employees of the plant "who are clearly going through a very, very uncertain time".

Labour MSP Richard Baker asked Transport Minister Keith Brown whether the Scottish government planned to delay the tendering process for the Clyde and Hebrides ferry service.

Mr Brown said he was "absolutely committed to supporting island communities".

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