A COMMUNITY has been joined by scores of farmers in celebrating a management buyout of a meat processing plant that employs 1,500 staff.

A cloud had been hanging over the future of Malton Bacon Factory, one of the biggest private sector employers in North Yorkshire, since last month, when Vion announced it wanted to offload its entire UK food operation.

The Dutch firm has agreed a deal to sell its UK pork production, including the plant in Norton.

Thirsk and Malton MP Miss Anne McIntosh, who is chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, visited the plant yesterday (Friday, December 14) for a briefing on the management buy out.

Miss McIntosh said: " Given the previous uncertainty, this news will be very welcome to Vion and staff as well as local pig producers.

“The local factory is extremely important to the local economy and I am delighted that this will secure a bright future for the staff and customers.

“Many pig producers for miles around will have cause to welcome the news.”

Mayor of Norton Di Keal said: "Obviously, it was an anxious time for the employees. Now this is some good news for them just in time for the run-up to Christmas."

The buyout of the pork side of the business has been led by Seamus Carr, the managing director of Vion's Pork Business Unit, backed by UK private equity firm Endless.

Mr Carr, who will be managing director of the new company, said: "Vion's decision to sell its UK business naturally caused a degree of uncertainty amongst staff, suppliers and customers.

"Therefore, I'm very pleased that we have quickly been able to agree a deal for the pork business which secures the future for our staff, our suppliers and gives our customers a seamless transition."