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MP offers support for workers hit by bakery closure

Fraserburgh Development Trust chairman, Ian Watson
Fraserburgh Development Trust chairman, Ian Watson

A north-east MP has promised to do all she can to support the workers of a historic bakery which is facing closure.

Banff and Buchan MP, Eilidh Whiteford, met with some of the two dozen workers affected by the announcement that John Smith Bakery in New Pitsligo would be turning off its ovens for the last time.

The community-based owners of the historic company – Fraserburgh Development Trust – were considering an ambitious £1.4million expansion of the bakery, which was saved from closure two years ago.

But when The Big Lottery rejected a funding application, the trust decided to shut down the 113-year-old operation with immediate effect.

Now, Ms Whiteford and representatives from Fraserburgh Development Trust have met with workers to discuss a way forward.

Last night, the Banff and Buchan MP said: “This is a very concerning and uncertain time for all those who were employed at the bakery and last week unexpectedly found themselves out of work.”

Ms Whiteford said she was pleased the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) team had contacted concerned staff and “are actively assisting them in finding new employment”.

She added: “It is important that the workers had this opportunity to raise any questions or concerns.

“I have assured them that I stand ready to assist in helping them ensure they are aware of their rights in a situation like this, as well as helping them access the necessary support that is available.”

Fraserburgh Development Trust chairman Ian Watson had previously expressed his disappointment at the collapse of the lottery funding application.

He said: “A great deal hinged on the Big Lottery decision, mainly the funding towards the project and the new build, which will sadly not go ahead now.”

In a statement, the trust said the lottery committee had “acknowledged the effort that had been put into the application”.

But they raised concerns the loss-making business would struggle to survive during the one-to-two-year construction process.

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