Questions over Welsh Government’s £1.8m role in BBI Solutions move

© DC Thomson
Current operations based in Dundee are being moved 465 miles to South Wales.

The Welsh Government’s role in the relocation of a Dundee medical firm has been questioned by concerned employees.

Dozens of jobs at medical diagnostic firm BBI Solutions, based in Dundee’s Medipark, are at risk after company bosses confirmed current operations in Dundee will move 465 miles away to South Wales.

The move was made possible thanks to a £1.8 million business grant from the Welsh Government.

Employees were informed of the proposals earlier this month.

Some staff have now questioned the Welsh Government’s role in the process.

One employee, who asked not to be named to protect his position, said the seven-figure grant should “raise concerns”.

He said: “If the Scottish Government were to help centralise a company base in Scotland at the expense of jobs in Wales I am sure there would be concerns raised.

“There are 72 skilled jobs in total which are at risk, comprising of assembly operators, quality control, research and development, production, compliance, engineers, storesmen all of which have, in my opinion, displayed a hard work ethic under difficult circumstances.

“This is not just a Dundee issue as it affects a number of workers from Dundee but also from the outlying areas who travel to Dundee for work at BBI.”

“I do also appreciate that both Wales and Scotland face unemployment issues.

“Financially this may benefit the parent company but it also causes a great amount of distress and uncertainty for the area which faces closure.”

The comments were echoed by Scottish Conservative North East MSP Liam Kerr who said the Welsh Government’s role in the move will “rub salt in the wounds”:

He said: “Anything that would see this number of jobs leave Dundee is of obvious concern.

“This will be terrible news for the workers, their families and of course the support industries that rely on this site.

“The fact this move is being aided by a grant from a government elsewhere will rub salt in the wounds and I am concerned at the lack of evidence the Scottish Government is being as proactive as the Welsh Government in using the many tools available to it to attract business and jobs to Dundee.

“I expect the Scottish Government to work with this company to seek some clarity and assurance for these workers and do all it can to mitigate the distress, uncertainty and financial crisis that many of the workforce face.”

Both BBI Solutions and the Welsh Government refused to comment.

Scottish Business Minister  Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are well aware of BBI’s proposal and fully appreciate how difficult this must be for all the affected employees, their families and the community.

“Claims that the Scottish Government has not been proactive are not true as ministers and Scottish Enterprise have already been engaging with the company and will continue to do so as we explore all possible options to retain these much-valued jobs in Dundee, recognising it is ultimately the company’s decision as to whether to retain employment at Dundee.

“The Scottish Government is committed to working with Dundee City Council and other agencies in the city to help support, develop and bring forward key economic projects for the city, by continuing to work with partners on the Tay Cities Deal and the Waterfront redevelopment.”