1. ITV Report

Welsh Government 'asleep at the wheel of governance' over Bridgend Ford plant closure

Ford announced earlier this month the closure of the plant with the loss of 1,700 jobs. Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government has been accused of being "asleep at the wheel" in a row over the closure of the Bridgend Ford plant.

Economy Minister, Ken Skates confirmed the Ford taskforce did not meet for two months after rumours began circulating that the car giant would be axing its operations in South Wales after he was asked by Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price.

The taskforce, which included Ford Europe, Ford UK and other interested parties and was set up to explore possible opportunities to protect jobs at Bridgend, had not met for nine months prior to the announcement.

The Welsh Government says the taskforce was only one of the ways it engaged with the company over the issue in order to safeguard jobs.

Ford announced earlier this month the closure of the plant with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government knew back in January this year that the plant could face a potential loss of over a thousand jobs. It is therefore inconceivable that the Labour Welsh Government taskforce failed to meet with Ford until two months later.

Furthermore, there was a staggering nine month gap between two of the meetings of this taskforce. This raises serious questions on what exactly the Government were doing during this crucial period where the future of the plant was still hanging in the balance. Why did they allow nine months to go by, in which a solution could have been found to keep the plant open?

This suggests a dereliction of duty of the highest order and of a party asleep at the wheel of governance.

– Adam Price AM, Plaid Cymru Leader

The Welsh Government said it has had a range of discussions with Ford, unions and others about the site as well as raising the issue in meetings and discussions with UK Government Ministers.

This is a cynical attack that in no way reflects the time and effort put into supporting the Ford Bridgend plant and its workforce by Welsh Government. Welsh Ministers and their officials have met with representatives from Ford very regularly over the past two years to explore internal commercial options for the site.

The Welsh Government has strained every sinew to keep the Bridgend plant open – including making significant investment in the site and its workforce - and makes no apology whatsoever for continuing to do so in order to keep good quality jobs and production in the area.

– A Welsh Government spokesperson