Huhne: Ford closure hammerblow for local economy

Pic: Bill Chandler

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


  3 comments for “Huhne: Ford closure hammerblow for local economy

  1. October 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    So the coalition govt policies for economics and employment have little effect here in Eastleigh. Why am I not surprised!

    It appears that employment can be created in overseas countries to the detriment of our own citizens.

    Building more houses when there are more than 800,000 laying empty nationally and constructing hotels are not going to create wealth for the country.

    Still, if this is your party’s policies,you got what you voted for.

  2. Peter Stewart
    October 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    The Ford and B&Q situation is bad for Eastleigh. But I dispute that Sainsburys cancelling their expansion has cost Eastleigh 230 jobs.

    Recent figures show that for every 2 jobs a supermarket creates, it destroys 3 local jobs! If so, then by Sainsburys cancelling their expansion, Eastleigh is BETTER OFF by 115 jobs.

    Such figures regarding net job destruction caused by supermarkets are also confirmed by George Monbiot in “Captive State”.

    Also a survey by the National Retailer Planning Forum in 1998 found that on average, each new supermarket destroys 276 local jobs!

  3. Brian Norgate
    October 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Chris Huhne was useless when we lost the Alstom railworks, Huhne and House were quick enough for the photo opportunity. which is their Modus operandi

    all the time they knew they had lost the Chickenhall link road which was going to rejuvinate Eastleigh in to a world class centre
    for many blue chip companies with the airport at its centre.

    i worked in the offices at Alstom and remember many of the details of the negotiaions over the Chickenhall link road, the other details i kept a paper record for Alstom to move three or more contracts from Eastleigh to Wolverton.

    when i became a Councillor i saw what an over optomistic plan the Chickenhall link road was, they ignored Planning advice as quoted by Ken thornber leader of HCC, no wonder it went wrong
    as EBC wouldnt take professional advice from the Government.

    EBC lost £435K over the town of Allington as well as the infrastructure, i asked what was the difference between the green belt at Allington and two miles down the track at Boorley green which Keith House supported.

    this was done to maximise the site for the Chickenhall link road expansion where its states
    Alstom could have maximised their units for the airport and other industries, so much they moved work away to accomodate the EBC plan.

    may i remind you it was EBC plan led by Keith House that failed on the Chickenhall link road that cost us the railway works employing 300 people and ensuring our town centre.

    from this Alstom were able to gain a reduction in business rates because of the greater income declared to the valuation office because of Chickenhall link road and junction six of the M27.

    Time and time again the lib dem run council has destroyed Eastleigh no matter what they put out in their lealfets or press releases history has shown their failures.

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