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NORTH MSP CALLS FOR ACTION IN POST-DOUNREAY ERA

16th August 2007

Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP David Stewart has called for action on the Caithness economy following a visit to Dounreay.

Mr Stewart said, "I had a useful and informative visit to Dounreay and met with trade union representatives and Dounreay Director Simon Middlemass. The main issue raised was job diversification in the post-Dounreay era. Those I met expressed a sense of urgency for the future particularly as in 2012 several hundred jobs are scheduled to go at the plant."

"It is clear the central issue of concern is the need to retain and utilise the level of skills the present Dounreay workers have. I am a particularly concerned about young people leaving Dounreay and going off shore to find work in the oil industry. We need to keep our workers in the county. There must be urgent investment in the Caithness economy in a long-term and sustainable way. A new sense of urgency is required and I will be meeting with Sandy Cumming, HIE's Chief Executive at the end of the month. I am also hoping that HIE's Inward Investment Manager Roy Kirk will be able to attend. Dounreay will be top of the agenda for the meeting."

Mr Stewart added, "Since the fifties Dounreay has been central to the Caithness economy and has provided many long-term jobs and helped secure the population base. Dounreay has a skilled, dedicated and professional workforce which is well positioned to react to the challenges of diversification, in new projects, such as tidal energy in the Pentland Firth or oil rig recycling."

"What is urgently needed now is a new vision on how the economy can be diversified for the future. There is no more important issue for Caithness at this time."

 

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