Eastleigh’s MP Chris Huhne has predicted the closure of the Ford plant in Swaythling will be a hammer blow for the local economy.
Around a third of the 800 people who work for Ford at the Swaythling plant and the depot and garage at Barton Park live in the borough and many other businesses depend on Ford and the money its employees spend locally.
One Ford employee explained;
“Ford pays many of its workers three or four times the national minimum wage so Ford workers tend to have an above average disposable income.
“Losing 500 auto manufacturing jobs like those at the Transit plant is the equivalent of losing around 1500 jobs in retail”.
Mr Huhne said:
“This is a hammer blow for the local economy and sad news for all the families who depend on the Ford plant at Swaythling. It is also a bitter disappointment after the long fight to save the plant and the enormous improvements in productivity and cuts in costs that the workforce managed to achieve.”
When the plant was first threatened with closure in 2008 Mr Huhne sponsored an early day motion in the House of Commons calling on Ford to reconsider their decision to move work to a plant in Turkey because of the detrimental effect it would have on local businesses – Mr Huhne’s motion noted:
“The impact that this would have upon jobs in the Home of the Transit, more widely in the travel to work area and on the many component suppliers of the plant across the country”
This is not the only piece of bad employment news Eastleigh has had recently.
DIY retailer B&Q, who have the their headquarters on Chestnut Avenue, announced two weeks ago that they would be making 220 people redundant and Sainsbury’s recently pulled out of a multi-million pound scheme to redevelop their existing Leigh Road store which would have created an extra 230 jobs in the town.
Sainsbury’s refusal to progress the plan has seriously set back council plans to use cash from the supermarket giant to regenerate the town centre and create jobs.
Mr Huhne added:
“The key now is to provide full support to all those losing their jobs so that they can find new work that will use their manufacturing skills.”
See also: ChrisHuhne .org.uk