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Council to form taskforce to support Ford's 500 jobless

The leader of Southampton City Council, Richard Williams, gave this statement in response to the decision to close the Ford Transit Van factory in the city:

This is the news we feared and it's a very bad day for the city. It certainly doesn't feel as if we are coming out of recession here in Southampton.

Now that we know the plant is to close next summer, we have to act quickly to support the 500 workers affected and alleviate the knock-on effect of such a blow to local industry.

The city council will be forming a taskforce along with trade unions, Jobcentre Plus and local MPs to help find new employment for the affected staff.

He added that it was important to protect the "strategically well-placed site" of the factory for "manufacturing and engineering" operations.

Workers leave Ford Southampton plant after news of closure

Workers in Ford's Transit van assembly factory in Southampton were sent home for the day after they were informed that the plant will be closing.

Workers leave the Ford Transit Assembly Plant in Southampton after being told that the site will close.
Workers leave the Ford Transit Assembly Plant in Southampton after being told that the site will close. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Workers leave the Ford Transit Assembly Plant in Southampton after being told that the site will close.
Ford's Southampton plant will close in 2013 Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Ford boss expects 'about 1,000 people to leave voluntarily'

"Our expectation is that about 1,000 people will accept the voluntary [redundancy] offer - and to repeat, it is a voluntary offer - and therefore about 1,000 plus people will leave the company," said Ford Europe CEO Stephen Odell.

He said the company has to "reflect the economic and business conditions that they are involved in" and that the European automotive industry was "20 percent below where it was in 2007".

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Labour MP: Ford decision 'devastating for Southampton'

The Southampton Labour MP John Denham, who is also the parliamentary aide to Ed Miliband, has described Ford's decision to shut the factory that makes the Transit van as "devastating":

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White van man drives a Southampton transit. Now he'll have to buy it from Turkey. Fords decision bad for UK, devastating for Southampton

Cable: 'Disappointing Ford job loses but good news long term'

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Today’s news will be very disappointing for the workers at Southampton and Dagenham who have been very aware of the challenges facing the auto sector throughout Europe. Our priority will be to help the workforce and we will be working with Ford to get them into new jobs as quickly as possible.

Ford has today underlined its continued long term commitment to its core activities in the UK and its £1.5 billion programme of investment in advanced manufacturing, engineering and research and development until 2015.

And the company has today announced that production of the new low carbon diesel engine will start in 2015/6 which is being designed and engineered at Dunton and built at Dagenham. This is good news and underlines Ford’s commitment for the long term. Ford has applied for money from round 3 of the Government's Regional Growth Fund to enable this project to go ahead and we were pleased last Friday to announce support for this going forward.

Labour: Ford cuts show no room for economic complacency

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Ummuna said Ford's UK job cuts reinforce Labour's stance that today's GDP figures leave no "room for complacency" on the economy:

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Ford's announcement shows there is no room for any complacency whatsoever as we seek to secure and strengthen the economy

Labour: Ford announcement is a 'very sad day'

The shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has tweeted his reaction to Ford closing its factory in Southampton and a plant in Dagenham:

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Ford’s decision to cease vehicle production in the UK marks the end of an era and is a very sad day

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Ford's decision will come as a devastating blow to 1100 Ford workers set to lose their jobs, with more put at risk in their supply chain too

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