Scotland gets pounds 260m Taiwan jobs boost

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The Independent Online

More than 3,300 jobs are being created by a Taiwanese electronics company that is investing pounds 260m in an unemployment black-spot in Scotland.

It is the biggest single job-creation investment in Scottish history and should help to transform the economy of Lanarkshire, blighted by the closure of British Steel's Ravenscraig works in 1992.

Chungwha Picture Tube, part of the giant Tatung group, is building a factory to produce television and computer components for the European market.

Scotland won the project against stiff competition from other European countries. British government grant aid has been given, although officials refused to say how much.

The 1.2m sq ft factory will be built in a 90-acre enterprise zone, close to the rail freight terminal at Mossend. Chungwha said the plant was due to be fully operational within four years, and will have the capacity to produce 10m cathode ray tubes a year. The first phase of the project is expected to come on stream in mid-1997 and employ 1,200 people.

Michael Forsyth, the Scottish Secretary, said: "We can all be proud of this major achievement for Lanarkshire and Scotland. Chungwha's decision to bring the biggest ever inward investment in the UK to Scotland against stiff competition from other European countries reinforces our position as one of the most competitive European business locations."

Mr Forsyth said that Scotland won the investment because of a high- quality, skilled workforce, non-wage labour costs among the lowest in Europe, one of the lowest rates of corporation tax and access to customers in the heart of Europe.

"Ravenscraig is the past - this is the future. We are moving on," Mr Forsyth said

The Ravenscraig closure in 1992 prompted a political outcry and was a huge blow for an area ravaged by the rundown of the coal and steel industry in Scotland's industrial heartland. The 3,300 skilled engineering and technical jobs will out-strip the 3,000 jobs being created by both Samsung and Siemens in north-east England.

The decision also enhances Scotland's image as a "Silicon Glen" favoured location for foreign investors. Last year 97 inward investment projects were announced, involving planned investment of more than pounds 1bn, creating or safeguarding more than 12,300 jobs.