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Support for Ford Engine Plant workers

Senior members at Bridgend County Borough Council have described the decision to close Bridgend's Ford Engine Plant as being ‘the single biggest blow to our economy since the closure of the pits’.

But Councillor Huw David, Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, has pledged that the authority will offer workers at the plant its full support and that action is already being taken.

He said: “Bridgend Ford's Engien Plant has been our biggest single private sector employer at the heart of the community for almost 40 years. We are devastated for everyone affected by this decision, and we urge Ford to reconsider and to work with both Welsh Government and the UK Government to keep this plant open.

“This is a dreadful situation for the staff at Ford to be in, and unfortunately it will have a knock-on effect on many other businesses which supply the plant with services as well as the wider economy, too.

“Since rumblings about the plant’s future first emerged in January, we have been working alongside Welsh Government colleagues to have a specialist response team standing ready.

“The team features organisations who will work together to support Ford workers. It includes representatives from the council, Welsh Government, the Department of Work and Pensions, Job Centre Plus, Business Wales, Careers Wales, Bridgend College and more.

“This response team will be able to work in partnership to offer a wide range of redundancy support and help workers gain access to new employment and training opportunities.

“The staff at Ford are highly skilled, world-class workers, and wherever possible, we will be encouraging other businesses within the county borough to offer them alternative employment.

“We have a number of initiatives in place which can support this, such as the ReAct fund which helps new employers meet recruitment and training costs, or the Employability Bridgend Programme which helps people to adapt, re-train, gain new skills and take advantage of fresh opportunities.”

Make no mistake, this is the single biggest blow to our economy since the closure of the pits in the early 1980s. That was the same period during which Bridgend's Ford Engine Plant came to prominence, and it has played a crucial role in the county borough ever since.

The council and its partners will be doing all that we can to support the community at large as well as the workers at Ford, and to minimise the effect on the local economy as much as possible.

But if this closure goes ahead, Bridgend County Borough is going to need significant investment from both the UK Government and Welsh Government in order to offset some of the huge impact that this will have on the local economy, the area and the community as a whole.

Councillor Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities

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