Ogmore MP Chris Elmore has called on the Welsh Secretary to provide a “fiscal stimulus package” should it be needed to protect skilled jobs at the site of the Ford engine plant in Bridgend.
The intervention follows Ford’s announcement last week of its plans to close down its South Wales engine production by September 2020.
Speaking during a statement on the issue by the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, the Ogmore MP called on ministers to make a “fiscal intervention” if it meant retaining some of the highly-skilled Ford jobs, or if it was required to encourage other investment at the site.
During his question, Chris also made clear that the company still had “questions to answer” about the closure, given that they had recently indicated that the plant was now one of its most efficient in the world.
The Welsh Government is currently in the process of establishing a taskforce, bringing together stakeholders to help find a sustainable, long term solution for the plant and its workforce.
Speaking following the statement, Chris Elmore MP said:
“UK Government ministers must ensure they work closely with the workers, the Welsh Government and the trade unions on this to do all they can to explore whether we can still retain some of these skilled jobs.
“The livelihoods of the workers, their families and other businesses supporting Ford’s supply chain are on the line and the Welsh Secretary needs to ensure he gets on top of this quickly.
“I’ll be continuing to work closely with Huw Irranca-Davies AM and my Bridgend colleagues, Carwyn Jones AM and Madeleine Moon MP to ensure workers’ voices are heard and that they receive the support they need and deserve at this incredibly difficult time.”
In response to Chris’ question, the Welsh Secretary said he would use “the whole might of Whitehall to support employees by attracting investment to that site”.
Chris Elmore MP said:
“I am pleased that Alun Cairns has said he will use the whole machinery of government to stand up for the 1,700 workers – and far wider population – affected by this. My Welsh Labour colleagues and I will hold him to this pledge.”
Chris has since raised the issue of future investment at the site with Greg Clarke MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.