Kilmarnock & Loudoun MSP Willie Coffey today said there were two billion reasons for Diageo not to walk out on Kilmarnock after the company announced annual profits this morning.
Mr Coffey, whose constituency includes the closure threatened Johnnie Walker plant said;
“Diageo’s profit announcement today of over Two Thousand Million pounds is now a defining moment in the campaign to keep Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock.
“When the company is announcing such massive profits, it really doesn’t wash that they have any justification for closing the Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock, destroying Walkers' historic links with the town.
“ Today's announcement should be great news for the company, its shareholders and its staff. But instead, it’s another PR disaster for the company due to its plans to withdraw from Kilmarnock and put 700 workers on the dole. An incredible situation.
“This announcement means that there is no credible argument left to justify their proposals.
“I want the company to go from strength to strength but the workers in Kilmarnock and Hurlford and in Glasgow deserve to share in that successful future. They have contributed to it for years.
“Johnnie Walker is a global icon and maintaining the brand and it’s link to Kilmarnock gives it a heritage that Diageo could use to build sales, not slash jobs.
“Let’s make no mistake, Diageo is a very profitable and successful company and all of its plants in Scotland should be looking forward to a secure future. Profits like those announced today should make that more rather than less certain.
“Along with colleagues in the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and East Ayrshire Council, I will continue to press the case for the retention of Kilmarnock as the spiritual home of Johnnie Walker.“I am hopeful that we can still persuade the company to work with us to secure that successful future.