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Ford job losses a blow to families and the local economy

February 6, 2009 8:00 AM

Southampton's two Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates have added their voices to those people who are extremely concerned by Ford's announcement that up to 500 jobs will be lost at the Swaythling plant.

Southampton Itchen Lib Dem candidate David Goodall said: "We must do all we can to help the workers who lose their jobs and their families. This is a devastating blow that will have a major impact on our community."

His counterpart in Southampton Test, David Callaghan, agreed and added: "The city is suffering badly in the economic recession and we must do everything we can to support businesses, large and small. We must help the Ford workers to find new jobs, and to help anyone else in the same position to secure new employment as quickly as possible."

Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne said that the loss of 400-500 jobs at the Ford Southampton assembly plant was a "hammer blow" for the workers, their families and the local economy.

Mr Huhne said that the latest Ford results showed that the car company was "bleeding cash" and was forced to take desperate measures, which were communicated on Wednesday to the trade unions at the plant. But Mr Huhne blamed the Government for worsening the situation by failing to ensure that there was credit for van purchasers.

"Last week's statement from Lord Mandelson missed the key ingredient, which is the loans that van purchasers need as they do not buy vans and cars with cash up front. A van is an investment that needs to be paid back over its lifetime" said Mr Huhne.

"Ford Credit Europe Bank has been struggling, along with other car company financing arms, to raise the cash to loan to customers. This is a key problem if the market is to be stabilised and jobs are to be saved.

"These are desperate times for the car industry with collapsing sales, restricted credit and now job losses. My sympathies are with the local families whose future now looks so uncertain."