Byline: Maureen Culley, Robert Fairburn
HAWICK is no stranger to hard times. It is a town hit harder than most in recent years, with the gradual demise of its oncethriving textile industry leaving the thronging mills empty and skilled workers jobless.
But as the rain falls heavy on its streets in the bitter chill of a January morning, the outlook for the Borders community now seems bleaker than ever.
Despite Hawick's efforts to recover from the loss of the mills, it has become one of the country's first towns to fall victim to the recession on a sweeping scale. In the space of only 24 hours last week, a clutch of local businesses announced job losses making what was described as a 'black day' for the local area.
And yesterday, CBI Scotland spokesman Iain Ferguson warned: 'What's happening in Hawick may happen elsewhere - times will get tougher before they get better.' In Hawick, times are already extremely tough. Last week, hitech cable and cutting company Emtelle, with sites in Hawick and Jedburgh, revealed plans to cut 35 posts, blaming the move on a 'significant slowdown' in its business.
Then it was revealed that local car dealer Thornwood Motors, based in the town's Commercial Road for 34 years, was going into liquidation with 16 jobs axed after it lost its lucrative Volkswagen dealership.