Bleak outlook for Caerlee

THE news that Caerlee Mills has entered provisional liquidation appears to spell the end of a long history of textile trading in Innerleithen.

Despite being only three years old, Caerlee can trace its roots back 225 years, as it rose from the ashes of Italian-owned JJ & HB 1788, previously known as Ballantyne.

The newly created firm targeted intarsia knitting cashmere garments at the top end of the fashion market.

But 36 months on, the company looks to have reached the end of the road.

Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell, who is also Scottish Borders Council’s economic development representative, said he was deeply disappointed, but added that the local authority would attempt to help any workers who lose their jobs.

He said: “This is still a bitter blow for Innerleithen as its last mill goes into receivership.

“I do hope that the resilient and skilled Caerlee workforce can find suitable alternative employment.”

And the MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Christine Grahame, has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Employment, John Swinney, to request assistance. She said: “The hard-working staff deserve to know what is happening as soon as possible.”