The dominant ‘story’ in Inverclyde has been the announcement that Texas Instruments (TI) are relocating their local manufacturing site abroad. The detrimental impact on the Inverclyde community is potentially immense with the possibility that 365 people will eventually lose their jobs. Amongst this are 13 people on modern apprenticeships. Hopefully they will have time to complete their apprenticeships before any closure as the run-down of the current operation will take three years. This gives us some breathing space but absolutely no room for complacency. Of course everybody that has any influence at all will be working to retain as many jobs as is possible. Already the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Inverclyde Council and elected representatives have met to discuss the issue and we shall be working with T.I. towards as positive an outcome as is possible. It is part of my remit as the local MP to press the UK Government to come to the aid of the employees. To that end I have asked for a meeting with the Secretary of State for Scotland. No stone shall be left unturned. It is the intention of everybody working on this problem to do everything they can support the workforce.
Better news locally is that Peel Ports have published the list of cruise ships that shall dock in Greenock in 2016. There are 59 visits on the list which will carry a combined 101,550 passengers. The passengers that choose to stay in the area, input to our local economy as do the crew who always take the opportunity to restock with supplies. I hope they all have a good experience when visiting Inverclyde and I commend Peel Ports for their continued investment in Inverclyde. I would appeal to Inverclyde Council to find it within their budget to retain a tourism officer so as we can work to maximise the benefit to our community.
And finally it was good to see that Starter Packs Inverclyde benefit from a grant from Bank of Scotland to the tune of £9,500. I visited them recently and they do a great job helping to eliminate some of the problems people can face in the initial stages of setting up home after a period of homelessness. It was also great to learn Inverclyde Globetrotters received £10,000 from Big Lottery Fund.