Grangemouth analysis: Sigh of relief at resolution

It has been announced that the plant will be staying open. Picture: Greg Macvean
It has been announced that the plant will be staying open. Picture: Greg Macvean
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The resolution of the dispute and the lifting of the threat to the petrochemical plant and the cloud over the future of the refinery is extremely welcome, both for those directly affected and the Scottish economy.

Grangemouth is Scotland’s largest industrial complex, accounting for about 8 per cent of our total manufacturing industry. The petrochemical plant produces 2 million tonnes of products every year while the refinery supplies 70 per cent of the fuel at Scotland’s filling stations. Almost 1,400 people are employed on the site and in total around 10,000 Scottish jobs rely on Grangemouth. We all know how important Scotland’s oil and gas sector is and around a third of the UK’s oil output arrives at the nearby Kinneil terminal – the function of which relies on Grangemouth.

This week, figures showed that Scotland’s manufactured exports rose by 3.3 per cent in the second quarter. This was in large measure due to the volume of refined petroleum, chemical and pharmaceutical products we are exporting. Any long-term diminution of the output of the Grangemouth site could have had serious implications for Scotland’s exports across the board.

Last week, Scottish Chambers of Commerce published our latest Quarterly Business Survey, which recorded a welcome continuation of the growth and increasing confidence Scottish businesses are experiencing.

However, this growth remains fragile. The closure of a major part of the Grangemouth site could have dented Scotland’s growth prospects. We are all breathing a sigh of relief that this has been averted.

• Liz Cameron is chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce