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End of an era as final orders leave Hall's of Broxburn

The last orders are being dispatched from the Hall's meat factory in West Lothian today.

The products leaving the site in Broxburn will be the last following the final day of production yesterday.

A total of 1,700 people will have lost their jobs by the time the plant closes on Friday.

There are currently 80 workers still on site and that will reduce to 50 office and administration staff by the end of the week.

Dutch owners Vion announced last year that it was closing the factory, putting 1,100 permanent staff and 600 agency staff out of work.

A spokesman for Vion said: "We regret that it has not proved possible to avoid closure of the plant."

The Hall's brand name, which is one of Scotland's oldest, has been taken over by another Scottish firm, Browns Food Group (Browns).

The Dumfriesshire-based company bought Hall's from Vion at the end of January.

The acquisition has effectively merged two of Scotland's oldest food businesses, both known for producing meat products such as sausages and haggis.

Browns, which is headquartered in Kirkconnel, will make Hall's products at its own plants.

The firm also plans to keep Hall's van operation, which has safeguarded the jobs of 50 drivers.

A £29 million economic development plan was announced before Christmas last year to help workers made unemployed through the closure of a food processing plant.

The national and local recovery plan is designed to create nearly twice as many new jobs over the next five years.

A total of £16.6 million has already been allocated through Scottish Enterprise, while new funding of up to £12 million will go to training and company support.

An average of £2.4 million will be invested in each of the next five years, with the effectiveness of the investment assessed after the first three years.

The Scottish Government/West Lothian Council Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative aims to reduce the time people spend out of work, help them find new jobs and support the hardest-hit communities in Broxburn and nearby Uphall and Winchburgh.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We are very saddened by the end of production of Hall's of Broxburn but continue to build on the work of the Hall's of Broxburn Task Force.

"The agreed economic development plan for the West Lothian economy is bringing together activities worth around £29 million over the next five years to support those individuals and communities directly affected by the closure of the Hall's of Broxburn food processing plant.

"Through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), we have been providing support to Vion Hall's employees since August 2012 and this support will continue for the foreseeable future.

"A jobs fair, attended by over 500 people, was held in November and a further redundancy support event took place in January.

"More than 90 presentations have also been delivered to employees on site, giving details of support available through PACE."

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