Glenrothes councillor calls on government to double taskforce cash

Cllr Brown says more cash is needed to help employment in the town
Cllr Brown says more cash is needed to help employment in the town

The town’s leading councillor is calling on the Scottish Government to double its financial commitment if it is to succeed in putting Glenrothes back on the economic map.

Bill Brown, chairman of Glenrothes area committee, sits on the emergency Fife Taskforce set up in the wake of the doomed papermill Tullis Russell’s slide into administration.

He said that double the financial commitment would be necessary if they were to meet the full commitment the town deserved.

But he fears the town is missing out.

Around £6 million of emergency funding was earmarked to mitigate the devastating impact the collapse had on the region.

It’s estimated 75 per cent of the 474 employees who lost their jobs lived in the immediate area.

“The collapse of Tullis Russell was terrible, and, while I welcome the intervention, the initial funding has now largely bee allocated,” Cllr Brown told the Gazette.

“Glenrothes seems to have missed out, there has not been enough focus on the immediate area and I as well as others have told the taskforce that.

“We need to build on what we have already achieved and continue to make Glenrothes an attractive proposition to new businesses and international investors - but to realistically achieve that we need double what we have already received.”

His desire for more to be done for the immediate Glenrothes area was backed by Tricia Marwick, Glenrothes and Mid Fife MSP.
She said: “I am very pleased we have the taskforce in place which seems to be paying off, and it is very encouraging that so many employees have already found jobs so quickly.

“The challenge now is for the remaining workforce to be given the support and training they need to enter employment.

“The wider question is the future economic support for Glenrothes and Markinch. I am doing all I can to ensure all resources are available and are given to communities most affected.”

The comments came as councillors received an update report from George Sneddon, Fife Council’s economic development service manager, outlining work be carried out by the Fife Taskforce in the Glenrothes area.

A totala of £290,000 has been allocated to significantly improve Whitehill and Eastfield industrial estates, while further funding will be used to create a state-of-the art ‘enterprise hub’ to generate business growth in Fife.

Cllr Brown said the same sort of commitment to match the £1.75m going into creating a technology park at Queensway Industrial Estate must now be committed to other parts of the town to give it a chance of competing.

“It’s widely regarded that these estates are in serious need of attention and are not really fit for purpose for new businesses or those that already occupy them,” he said.

Councillors were also given confirmation that a £30,000 Glenwood feasibility study was to be carried out which, once completed, could potentially unlock a percentage of capital from Fife Council’s £1m town centre regeneration fund.