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.

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1,400 Ford jobs to be cut

Ford has cut 1,400 jobs in the UK as it announces plans to shut its Transit van factory near Southampton and a plant in Dagenham in Essex. The firm has said it hopes to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.