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Business / Potential Moorfield Hotel job losses raised by Wishart at Scottish Parliament

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has raised the issue of potential job losses at the Moorfield Hotel in Brae in the Scottish Parliament and called the news a “devastating blow”.

In response first minister Nicola Sturgeon recognised that the hotel sector “is very hard hit” by the coronavirus pandemic and asked the economy secretary to look into the particular circumstances of the Moorfield situation.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that almost 50 jobs are on the line at the hotel after oil and gas company Total decided against extending its seven-year accommodation contract with the hotel.

The hotel was already undertaking a consultation with staff regarding potential redundancies before Total decided to move its staff to the Sella Ness accommodation camp from August.

Wishart said at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday that it “is another devastating blow for the Shetland economy, especially in the North Mainland which has already been hit hard this year with the closure of Scatsta Airport and other redundancies at the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal”.

She also asked Sturgeon what the Scottish Government can do to prevent job losses and help those facing redundancy.

Speaking afterwards, Wishart said: “Whilst this is a commercial decision by Total, it is very concerning news for Shetland.

“My primary thought is with the staff who are directly affected. This will be a very worrying time for them and the focus right now should be to ensure that as many jobs as possible can be retained in a sustainable way.

“The real prospect of job losses at the Moorfield Hotel could not come at a worse time for the North Mainland economy. There have been fears for some time about the future of some accommodation providers with the downturn in the oil and gas sector.

“That has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic which has hit tourism and hospitality especially hard. I look forward to discussing the serious situation further with ministers.”

The owners of the Moorfield said in March that it would appeal a Scottish Government reporter’s ruling to overturn a Shetland Islands Council decision to turn down planning permission for the Sella Ness facility to remain open beyond November 2020.