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Lanarkshire-based electrical engineering firm’s closure raised at FM’s questions

The “devastating” decision to place a long-established Wishaw-based company into administration resulting in close to 100 people losing their jobs has been raised in the Scottish Parliament.

Earlier this week we told you how Weir and McQuiston (Scotland) Ltd, one of Lanarkshire oldest family-owned businesses, had been plunged into despair, with bosses saying there was “no alternative” than to cease trading with immediate effect.

Trading as WMQ Building Services the business was established in 1976.

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The electrical engineering firm provided a range of services to the commercial, industrial and residential sectors including, mechanical and electrical design; installation; maintenance; testing; and consultancy.

The business was well-known locally for its leading apprenticeship recruitment and training programme – but the move meant 93 employees lost their jobs.

Motherwell and Wishaw’s MSP Clare Adamson raised the administration of Weir and McQuiston at Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions.

Lanarkshire-based electrical engineering firm's closure raised at FM's questions
The closure has resulted in 93 people losing their jobs

The SNP MSP asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon what support affected employees were being offered through the Scottish Government’s redundancy support scheme – Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).

Following the session, Ms Adamson said: “This is a devastating development. WMQ xz was one of Scotland’s most well-regarded mechanical and electrical contractors.

“The family-owned firm has been operating from Wishaw for some 45 years.

“To lose such a well-established local business shows the gravity of the challenges faced by firms in the last 18 months.

“Our thoughts are with all of those affected by this announcement. I am heartened to hear that the local PACE team has been engaged with administrators and employees.

“It is vital that staff are given appropriate support at what is a hugely challenging time for workers and their families.”

The company’s projects included city centre offices, health boards, local authorities, private companies, community projects, churches, hotels, retail and sports centres.

The business had expanded rapidly in recent years and diversified into new markets, including the supply of M&E consultancy and services for the fast-growing renewables sector.

Just two years ago the company had over 200 employees. Last December the Wishaw Press reported that the company had been recognised by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) as one of the UK’s most dynamic and fastest growing companies.

The administration was caused by unsustainable cash flow problems stemming from wafer thin margins in the construction sector, the cessation of construction activity and the widely reported problems with labour and materials shortages.

Blair Milne and James Fennessey, partners with Azets, have been appointed joint administrators.

They will market the assets for sale including work in progress and plant and equipment, and are encouraging interested parties to make contact as soon as possible.

They will also focus on working closely with the Redundancy Payments Office and PACE to minimise the impact on staff affected by the closure.

Blair Milne, joint administrator and head of restructuring with Azets, said: “The directors did everything possible to keep the business trading, however, the scale of cash flow problems and the impact of the lockdown left them with no alternative other than to cease trading and place the company into administration.”

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