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Slump in European sales blamed for Swindon job losses

Honda's senior vice president, Ian Howells, blames a slump in sales in Europe for the decision to scale back production at the Swindon car plant, with the loss of 340 jobs.

He told our political correspondent Bob Constantine that he expected the downturn to last for "one or two years", but denied that Honda had been too optimistic about the market in the past:

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340 jobs under threat at Swindon's Honda factory

Japanese car giant Honda is to cut production at its UK factory in Swindon from three shifts to two, threatening 340 jobs.

Most cars built at the plant are exported and sales in other countries have not been as strong as in the UK.

Over the last 12 months, we haven't seen the growth we'd anticipated. With no increase forecast for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly.

However, with the restructuring we're taking today, and our new model plans, we remain confident in the long-term future of our Swindon plant.

Our Swindon operation continues to be the hub for our European car manufacturing activity.

– Ian Howells, senior vice president of Honda Motor Europe

Honda said it will enter into consultation on a proposal to reduce the workforce by 340 production employees.

As well as moving to two shifts, production will be consolidated on to one line, to "improve production flexibility and efficiency" while production volumes continue at the current level.

These job losses are a devastating blow, not just for these workers but for the thousands more across the industry whose work is dependent on the Honda plant.

Today's losses are also a wake-up call to the UK government. The economy is far too fragile to proclaim a recovery - those workers losing their jobs today will find claims that the country is turning a corner an insult.

The truth is that there is simply no pick up in the incomes of Honda's customers, either here or in the eurozone. People are not confident and do not have the cash to spend.

– Tony Murphy, Unite union

Council statement following child bus death

Swindon Borough Council has issued ITV News with a statement, in response to calls by the mother of Caitlin Hunt for improvements to be made to the crossing where she died.

The traffic calming measures were introduced in late 2007 to reduce the number of accidents and to address the concerns of local residents. As a result, a series of consultation events were held prior to the scheme being approved.

Over the most recent five-year period since the speed tables and 20miles per hour limit were introduced, there has been one slight accident, prior to last week's tragedy.

– Swindon Borough Council

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Mother speaks about 'beautiful, bubbly' Caitlin.

The mother of a nine year old girl from Swindon who died after being knocked down by a bus has described her daughter as a beautiful, bubbly girl.

Caitlin Hunt was killed last week as she was heading home on her scooter from the corner shop.

Speaking in her first television interview, her mother says the crossing where she was knocked down, needs to be improved.

Our Wiltshire Correspondent Robert Murphy reports.

Mother speaks of heartbreak

The mother of 9-year old Caitlin Hunt who was knocked down and killed by a bus near her home in Swindon has paid tribute to her "beautiful" daughter.

Caitlin absolutely loved to sing. She loved having her photo taken and videoing herself.

She said when she reached the age of 16 she wanted to go on Britain's Got Talent and was also going to go on The X Factor.

She was always singing. She seemed to start when she was just six months old and then didn't stop. Her favourite band was One Direction, but she loved everything really.

She was always asking to borrow my make-up, saying she wanted to look like me, but I just told her she didn't need it as she was beautiful enough.

I'm just feeling empty at the moment.

– Caitlin Hunt's mother, Claire

It is the second tragedy to befall the family in recent months after Caitlin's eldest sister, Jamie, died from pneumonia aged just 22 last October.

Police appeal for witnesses to fatal Swindon bus crash

Caitlin Hunt (on the right) died after being knocked down by a bus in Swindon. Credit: ITV News West Country

Wiltshire police are appealing for witnesses to the accident which led the death of a nine year old girl in Swindon last night.

Caitlin Hunt was knocked down by a bus on Moredon Road.

Local Inspector Paul Hacker from Wiltshire Police says it's believed to have been a tragic accident:-

"Our thoughts remain with Caitlyn's family at this time. I would like to reassure the local community that a robust police investigation is well underway and I would ask that anyone with information or who witnessed the incident to contact Wiltshire Police immediately."

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