More than 50 jobs lost as Hawick knitwear factory closes

A Hawick knitwear firm is to cease production next month after almost 150 years of operating in the town.

Hawick's Peter Scott knitwear factory.
Hawick's Peter Scott knitwear factory.

The final day of operation at the Peter Scott factory in Buccleuch Street will be Sunday, August 28.

The closure comes after a previous restructuring programme “failed to produce the projected financial results”.

The latest 50-plus workers to leave at Peter Scott, owned by Northampton-based Gloverall, are those in its Shima panel section.

From the end of this week, they will be put on so-called gardening leave, alongside dozens of other staff awaiting redundancy packages.

By the end of next month, there will be only a handful of customer service and warehouse staff at the premises. That is down from a payroll of around 70 earlier in the year.

A company spokesman said a number of staff had already found alternative employment. He added: “It is a sad time, but it is no fault of the staff, and it is not through a lack of skills. They have given 100% effort.” Hawick honorary provost Stuart Marshall said: “The news that Peter Scott has ceased manufacturing in the town after nearly 150 years is a real hammer blow, not only because of the disappearance of this world-famous brand name being knitted in Hawick, but also more importantly for the first-class workforce that it has decided to discard.

“Having known many of those employees who have been made redundant, I can honestly say how saddened I am to learn that such a highly-skilled and quality-conscious workforce are now faced with such an uncertain future, and I can only hope that their skills can be absorbed in some way by some of the more prosperous knitwear companies in our town.

“What a sad day for Hawick.” Fellow Hawick and Denholm councillor Watson McAteer added: “The end of knitwear production at Pesco’s marks a defining and very sad moment for a once world-famous Hawick brand.

“I am hugely sympathetic to the skilled workers who must now try to find work in difficult circumstances.

“It is essential that new opportunities continue to emerge and the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council does everything in its power to influence economic development of our town.”

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont agreed, saying: “This is desperately sad news for those who are involved and unfortunately the latest in a string of closures in Hawick.

“Textiles has such a rich heritage in Hawick that it certainly has a bright future, but it is clear that the industry is going through a difficult transition and that new highly-skilled jobs must be found elsewhere.

“The most important thing for Hawick is that we attract new businesses to create much-needed jobs, which is why we need meaningful action as soon as possible.

“This is why I am so frustrated by the lack of progress over my plan for an enterprise zone for Hawick.

“I first suggested the idea in February, and after raising it numerous times with the Scottish Government, nothing has been done.

“By cutting businesses rates, fast-tracking planning applications and offering recruitment support, we could attract much-needed investment and revitalise the town centre.”

“The Scottish Government needs to stop dithering and take some concrete action to help the town’s economy.

“I asked for an update about plans for Hawick over a month ago, and I’m yet to receive a substantive answer.

“The Government needs to stop with the warm words and instead take real action to help Hawick and support local jobs.”