Support must be for all, not just a selected few

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Losing your job is devastating at the best of times, but to be laid off just before Christmas no doubt adds more stress at an already-stressful time in people’s lives.

But if that’s not bad enough, to then find yourself without the support offered to people in a similar position, but who worked for a larger company, must be hard to swallow.

This week, Galashiels community councillor John McLaren called on Scottish Borders Council to do more to support workers who are made redundant.

His plea comes just weeks after 14 people lost their jobs when the national electrical firm Comet closed in the town.

It transpired that due to the relatively small number of staff who found themselves out of work, no support was available to them. Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Government will only step in when it is a significant employer that is set to close.

The decision is difficult to understand considering the services are in existance, just not the means to access them. We all pay taxes, so why not?

If the services are there, how difficult would it be to ensure the information is available to everyone? Instead, people who are already shellshocked are left fretting over what to do next.

In the current climate, it is highly unlikely this will be the last instance of this happening and the current position surely discriminates against Borders employees compared to those who work in the city.

This region is full of small rural businesses employing small numbers of workers, and this must therefore put the majority of our workforce at risk of being left out in the cold if the worst happens and they lose their jobs.

We know finances are tight, but surely there must be someone out there who can come up with a relatively cheap and cost-effective plan to ensure that existing support is available to all.