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Poverty

Volume 538: debated on Wednesday 11 January 2012

The Government took action at the autumn statement to build a stronger and more balanced economy. As a result, more than £500 million has been added to the existing Scottish budget by the UK Government, which provides the Scottish Government with additional resources in these uncertain times.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he agree that one of the most important ways of tackling poverty is ensuring full employment? Does he therefore share my concern that Mahle Engine Systems in my constituency seems set to remove jobs from an area hit by high unemployment, taking those jobs out of Scotland and out of the UK?

I would be very disappointed if that were the case. I know that the hon. Lady is a doughty campaigner for employment in her constituency. We must continue to stress the benefits of employers remaining in Scotland, which is why the current constitutional uncertainty is so damaging.

On Monday, when 700 of my constituents employed by WJ Harte Construction returned to work, they were told that the company had gone into administration, without any consultation whatsoever. I am told that Scottish Enterprise and the trade unions were not even aware of this. The MSP was not aware of it, and the MP certainly was not. The company was taken over by a venture capitalist more than two years ago, when it had a turnover of £100 million. It has now been run into the ground and the executives have run away with the money. Will the Minister meet me to discuss what we can do to save as many of these 700 jobs as possible? This is a disgraceful situation.

Obviously, as a fellow south Lanarkshire MP I am very disappointed to hear what the hon. Gentleman has to relate, and I should be very pleased to meet him to ensure that employment continues to be secured in south Lanarkshire.