26 December 2018
Scottish Labour has called for an inquiry into government grants handed out to companies like Kaiam Europe and Kaiam UK in Livingston.
MSP Neil Findlay has written to the convenor of Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work committee, Gordon Lindhurst, calling for an inquiry into government support.
The 300-strong Kaiam workforce at Livingston learned on Christmas Eve that they would be laid off with immediate effect and that wages owed to them wouldn’t be paid.
The move follows revelations earlier this year that the now closed 2 Sisters Chicken Factory in Cambuslang received financial support based on the factory remaining operational until 2020.
The text of Neil Findlay’s letter, sent on Christmas Eve before the workforce was informed, is below:
Inquiry into Kaiam Livingston
I am writing to you following the recent events at Kaiam UK Livingston and urge you to hold an inquiry into:-
1) How Government grants, loans and other financial support is given?
2) What conditions apply to them?
3) Whether these are a good use of public money or not?
4) How such money is recouped should the business awarded support not fulfil its obligations relating to the initial award of the grant.
5) And how accountable are companies and their directors for the public money they receive?
The recent actions of this company left 300 workers owed wages just before Christmas and unsure of their future. This is a brutal blow to the individuals and families concerned and to the local economy.
It is my understanding that Kaiam had been in receipt of Scottish Government financial support in recent years.
Time and again we see companies being funded via grants or loans as part of a deal to get them to locate or stay in Scotland. This is of course an established and long standing policy of many Governments across the world, past and present, however l think the time is right to examine these issues more closely and re-evaluate how effective it is.
As Members of Parliament we have an obligation to protect our constituents, ensure we have a stable economy and that public money is used well and in the interests of our people.
I believe the workers at Kaiam will be fully supportive of such an inquiry taking place and indeed would be willing to ensure representatives of the workforce would be willing to take part.
I hope you will give this your full consideration.
26 December 2018