Lite-On job losses put Govt grants in question

Lite-On job losses put Govt grants in question
Political Correspondent The decision by Taiwanese firm Lite-On to cut the workforce at its year-old Scottish computer monitor plant by two-thirds has raised questions about the effectiveness of government grants to attract inward investment. A House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee investigation into Inward Investment policy in Scotland will investigate the cash paid to Lite-On as part of its study. The firm has laid off 230 of its 350 strong workforce blaming poor market conditions. It is now switching some production back to Taiwan, although it has promised to rebuild the plant at Mossend in Lanarkshire to full capacity when trade picks up. Locate in Scotland (LiS) – which will be quizzed by the all-party committee – paid Lite-On a substantial aid package to support the Scottish plant on the promise that it would employ more than 1,000 people making a million monitors a year. LiS director Martin Togneri said ?2.7m of a ?5.5m grant had been paid to Lite-On, but added that there was a clawback mechanism if a satisfactory future development plan was not drawn up in the next two months. Scottish Industry Minister Brian Wilson regretted the redundancies but denied it signalled the end of high-tech Far Eastern investment in Scotland. Local Scottish National Party councillor Kathleed McAlorum questioned the effectiveness of government grants in providing secure jobs and investment. Lite-On has denied reports that it is losing ?7m a month on the Scottish plant. PCB maker Viasystems has also announced 210 redundancies at two Scottish factories in Selkirk and Galashiels, which it acquired when it bought Forward Group last year.


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