1. ITV Report

Hopes of a buyer for Borders knitwear firm

Barrie knitwear manufacturing site in Hawick Photo: ITV Border

There is optimism that a textile mill in Hawick can be saved, despite its parent company going into administration.

Barrie knitwear employs around 200 people and makes clothes for designer labels and department stores.

Several companies have now expressed an interest in buying the mill and local people are hopeful that it can be saved.

Yesterday its owner, Dawson International, announced that a huge pension deficit had forced the company into administration.

Chairman David Bolton said it was a sad day for Dawson International, and criticised the Pension Protection Fund for rejecting proposals to resolve the deficit.

However, the Pension Protection Fund has defended its decision, and said in a statement:

“We exist to protect people’s pensions in the event of company insolvency and inadequate pension scheme funding and our costs are met by all eligible pension schemes.

“On rare occasions, we will - alongside the Pensions Regulator - consider transactions which allow a company to continue to operate with the pension scheme being taken on by the PPF.

“We do not enter such arrangements lightly and only agree them if a number of stringent tests are met. Unfortunately, in this case the offers made to take on the pension scheme, given the size of the deficit in the scheme, were inadequate.

“In all cases, we apply clear and consistent principles, taking into account the likely impact they may have on pension scheme members as well as the cost to the other pension schemes which pay our levy.

“We will be working with the administrators to make sure that the interests of the Dawson pension scheme members are best represented.”

– Martin Clarke, PPF Executive Director for Financial Risk

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