Dutch meat group Vion has said that it will shutter its Hall’s of Broxburn processing facility in February in a phased process that will commence this month, unless a suitable buyer is found.

In a letter to workers, Vion said that it is still in talks with interested parties over the potential sale of the site, where 1,700 people are employed. However, if a “sustainable solution” cannot be found the company will commence a phased shutdown process later this month.

Vion said that it would not confirm any redundancies until all offers to buy the plant had been considered.

Commenting on the news, Scottish finance secretary John Swinney said the Hall’s taskforce would continue in its efforts to preserve the site.

“The taskforce will continue to work with the company to find a buyer for the site, and measures will be put in place to help staff looking for work after the announcement, as well as to mitigate the impact on the wider local economy. The taskforce will draw up a recovery plan to address these issues,” Swinney said in a statement today (5 October).

The taskforce was established in July after Vion announced plans to close the West Lothian processing plant. It comprises of the Scottish government, West Lothian Council, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland, trades unions, VION and local elected representatives.

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The next meeting of the taskforce will be on 10 October – the deadline Vion has set for bids for the plant.