The lessons of Invergordon

Simpson, David (1982) The lessons of Invergordon. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 7 (3). pp. 25-26. ISSN 0306-7866

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In recent months, public attention has been drawn to a number of spectacular plant closures, including the BSC plant at Glengarnock, Singer Clydebank, Talbot Linwood, Massey-Ferguson Kilmarnock, Wiggins Teape Fort William, and now the British Aluminium smelter at Invergordon. All have in common the fact that the plants concerned dominated their local labour market, so that, when closure came, there were few alternative employment opportunities to which those made redundant could turn. The local vulnerability thereby created should be contrasted with the employment situation in the new town of Milton Keynes. There, the workforce is dispersed in small and medium-sized plants over a wide range of industries, so that when changes in market conditions, resource availability or technology affects one industry, not all hope of employment disappears at once. This brief paper considers the lessons to be learned and the economic levers available to stimulate job opportunities in areas affected.