Leaked memo reveals Ford told ministers it would keep Transit plant

Lord Mandelson

Lord Mandelson

First published in News

FORD was telling ministers it would preserve its Southampton base back in 2008, documents obtained by the Daily Echo show.

The motor giant said bringing the new-generation Transit van to the plant would turn it around and stop it making a loss.

The Daily Echo has obtained a copy of a memo from the conversation, between former Business Secretary Peter Mandelson and John Fleming, who was the company’s European head.

It can be revealed as 30,000 prepare to protest on the streets of Genk in Belgium today against Ford cuts across Europe.

It also reveals the minister was urging Ford to maintain its presence on the south coast if itwas to receive help from taxpayers.

Contact between the company and ministers has been under close scrutiny since the bombshell closure of the Sway-thling plant and the loss of 500 jobs.

And the Daily Echo has revealed the extent of taxpayer-funded support for the company.

A £9.3 million award was made through the Regional Growth Fund just days before the closure, with ministers admitting this week they had not asked for any assurances about Southampton before handing over the cash.

And an £80 million European Investment Bank loan – sanctioned by Chancellor George Osborne – went towards the company’s Turkish operation.

Hampshire MPs have accused Ford of “flying in the face” of commitments about Swaythling that it made to them.

And the memo of Lord Mandelson’s phone call with Mr Fleming, at the time of widespread job losses at the plant in November 2008, reveals ministers were given the same assurances.

It says Mr Fleming was “seeking advice on what to do with the plant”, as he did not want to lose Ford’s last vehicle manufacturing in the UK.

“Fleming thought the Transit could be manufactured at Southampton until 2011, then Ford could bring the new Transit to the plant.”

Between 36,000 and 40,000 units per year would be produced, it says.

The memo adds: “Transit was highly profitable and valuable to the company, so this would turn the plant around and stop it being loss-making.”

The memo also refers to the possibility of taxpayer-funded loans, adding: “[The Secretary of State] said he wanted Ford to continue as a lynchpin and to maintain its base in Southampton. He wanted investment and production in the UK to continue, and would try to do whatever possible to ensure that they had a future in this country.”

John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “I have made the point all along that when we were trying to rescue the motor industry, we expected something in return.

“I think it’s pretty clear that Ford made a promise to keep Southampton open, and that the Government, in return, encouraged them to apply to European Investment Bank funding. Ford have taken advantage of that funding, and they’ve now walked away from the deal.”

Comments (16)

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11:22am Sun 11 Nov 12

G0Rf says...

Boycott ford!
Boycott ford! G0Rf
  • Score: 0

11:26am Sun 11 Nov 12

Ginger_cyclist says...

Typical american company, all take take take, when it comes to giving they run away.
Typical american company, all take take take, when it comes to giving they run away. Ginger_cyclist
  • Score: 0

11:37am Sun 11 Nov 12

Facewagon says...

Ginger_cyclist wrote:
Typical american company, all take take take, when it comes to giving they run away.
As opposed to our wonderfully civic-minded companies?
[quote][p][bold]Ginger_cyclist[/bold] wrote: Typical american company, all take take take, when it comes to giving they run away.[/p][/quote]As opposed to our wonderfully civic-minded companies? Facewagon
  • Score: 0

12:12pm Sun 11 Nov 12

__KTF__ says...

A lot has happened to the economy in the past 4 years.

Dragging up a letter from 2008 is meaningless.
A lot has happened to the economy in the past 4 years. Dragging up a letter from 2008 is meaningless. __KTF__
  • Score: 0

12:12pm Sun 11 Nov 12

andysaints007 says...

That was 4 years ago!
That was 4 years ago! andysaints007
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Sun 11 Nov 12

ohec says...

The other side of the coin Ford have employed thousands over the years whole families have worked for Ford, Dagenham was Ford now times are tough and they are desperate for survival, the Japanese and European companies have done the same to the U.S market that the Japanese done to our car and motorcycle market the same as Mercedes/Volvo/ MAN/Scania done to our truck market. Thats life how things evolve look at Detroit the once mighty hub of the U.S motor industry so while it hurts to see Ford leave Southampton perhaps we should also be grateful for the years of employment that Ford has given us.
The other side of the coin Ford have employed thousands over the years whole families have worked for Ford, Dagenham was Ford now times are tough and they are desperate for survival, the Japanese and European companies have done the same to the U.S market that the Japanese done to our car and motorcycle market the same as Mercedes/Volvo/ MAN/Scania done to our truck market. Thats life how things evolve look at Detroit the once mighty hub of the U.S motor industry so while it hurts to see Ford leave Southampton perhaps we should also be grateful for the years of employment that Ford has given us. ohec
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Sun 11 Nov 12

peenut81 says...

^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today.

Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism.
This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.
^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today. Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism. This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly. peenut81
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Sun 11 Nov 12

andysaints007 says...

peenut81 wrote:
^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today.

Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism.
This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.
Well that statement of yours just shows how little you know about business!
[quote][p][bold]peenut81[/bold] wrote: ^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today. Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism. This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.[/p][/quote]Well that statement of yours just shows how little you know about business! andysaints007
  • Score: 0

1:20pm Sun 11 Nov 12

southy says...

andysaints007 wrote:
peenut81 wrote:
^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today.

Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism.
This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.
Well that statement of yours just shows how little you know about business!
No he very close.

And what about the £50million Fords recieved 2 years ago from the Tax payers, and all the rest of the money Fords have recieved over the years from the tax payers
[quote][p][bold]andysaints007[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]peenut81[/bold] wrote: ^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today. Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism. This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.[/p][/quote]Well that statement of yours just shows how little you know about business![/p][/quote]No he very close. And what about the £50million Fords recieved 2 years ago from the Tax payers, and all the rest of the money Fords have recieved over the years from the tax payers southy
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Sun 11 Nov 12

Pheeny says...

I'm from Genk in Belgium and Ford was also telling our politicians and Unions that our plant was save,and this up until 3/4 weeks before the announce the closure.
I'm from Genk in Belgium and Ford was also telling our politicians and Unions that our plant was save,and this up until 3/4 weeks before the announce the closure. Pheeny
  • Score: 0

3:31pm Sun 11 Nov 12

Skipper38 says...

Ridiculous article. The situation has changed dramatically since 2008 and Ford is reacting to the here and now, not yesteryear. Only politicians who have never managed anything could expect otherwise.

Ford is a successful company because it is decisive. And, Southampton apart, Ford and Ford dealerships will still employ many 10s of thousands of people in the UK.
Ridiculous article. The situation has changed dramatically since 2008 and Ford is reacting to the here and now, not yesteryear. Only politicians who have never managed anything could expect otherwise. Ford is a successful company because it is decisive. And, Southampton apart, Ford and Ford dealerships will still employ many 10s of thousands of people in the UK. Skipper38
  • Score: 0

4:25pm Sun 11 Nov 12

Torchie1 says...

peenut81 wrote:
^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today.

Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism.
This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.
In your little world a major car manufacturer is still selling the same volume of vehicles in 2012 as they did in 2008? If the answer is yes then why wasn't the Swaythling plant running around the clock to keep up with the demand and if it's No, you should be able to understand why a plant already on minimal capacity can no longer be kept running. A business can only run that way for a certain amount of time before hard decisions have to be made.
[quote][p][bold]peenut81[/bold] wrote: ^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today. Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism. This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.[/p][/quote]In your little world a major car manufacturer is still selling the same volume of vehicles in 2012 as they did in 2008? If the answer is yes then why wasn't the Swaythling plant running around the clock to keep up with the demand and if it's No, you should be able to understand why a plant already on minimal capacity can no longer be kept running. A business can only run that way for a certain amount of time before hard decisions have to be made. Torchie1
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Sun 11 Nov 12

andysaints007 says...

southy wrote:
andysaints007 wrote:
peenut81 wrote:
^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today.

Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism.
This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.
Well that statement of yours just shows how little you know about business!
No he very close.

And what about the £50million Fords recieved 2 years ago from the Tax payers, and all the rest of the money Fords have recieved over the years from the tax payers
No he is not close !! And you can butt out of it southy you are a complete idiot and no one cares about your pathetic opinions!
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andysaints007[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]peenut81[/bold] wrote: ^^^^ And in business and politics 4 years is a very short time to plan, prepare and implement a project. So decisions and conversations then should still have some relevance today. Ginger, it may disapoint you to know but it is not just American companies, its all companies and if they don't behave like this they are a badly run company unable to respond to the necessities of Capitalism. This is why capitalism has no benefit to the masses, in the long run it encourages cartels, fraud and monopoly.[/p][/quote]Well that statement of yours just shows how little you know about business![/p][/quote]No he very close. And what about the £50million Fords recieved 2 years ago from the Tax payers, and all the rest of the money Fords have recieved over the years from the tax payers[/p][/quote]No he is not close !! And you can butt out of it southy you are a complete idiot and no one cares about your pathetic opinions! andysaints007
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Sun 11 Nov 12

andysaints007 says...

Pheeny wrote:
I'm from Genk in Belgium and Ford was also telling our politicians and Unions that our plant was save,and this up until 3/4 weeks before the announce the closure.
ahhh diddums
[quote][p][bold]Pheeny[/bold] wrote: I'm from Genk in Belgium and Ford was also telling our politicians and Unions that our plant was save,and this up until 3/4 weeks before the announce the closure.[/p][/quote]ahhh diddums andysaints007
  • Score: 0

8:37pm Sun 11 Nov 12

bobbyboy says...

That was not a Leak it was part of the conditions of us excepting the package we took in 2009 to safe guard the future of the Plant and the intro of the chassis cab variant. We were Advised then that if they didnt get enough volunteer redundacies the future of the Plant could not be safe guarded as many of us had younger members of family left and the package was a fair one most of us over 30 years of service took the package. The ones that stayed will be the ones that will suffer this time round as there skills except traded skills are not reconised outside of Fords trust me i found out and many others the hardway.Plus at 55 i was considered OLD. Thats the real life outside Fords.
That was not a Leak it was part of the conditions of us excepting the package we took in 2009 to safe guard the future of the Plant and the intro of the chassis cab variant. We were Advised then that if they didnt get enough volunteer redundacies the future of the Plant could not be safe guarded as many of us had younger members of family left and the package was a fair one most of us over 30 years of service took the package. The ones that stayed will be the ones that will suffer this time round as there skills except traded skills are not reconised outside of Fords trust me i found out and many others the hardway.Plus at 55 i was considered OLD. Thats the real life outside Fords. bobbyboy
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Tue 13 Nov 12

murfmeister says...

my dad worked there for 42 years and was kicked out on medical when there was nothing wrong with him, both my grandfathers worked there when it was originally briggs motor bodies.
My mum and dad met at the fords social club.

This is a very sad end to a place that has a special place in a lot of local peoples hearts over a lot of years and always will
my dad worked there for 42 years and was kicked out on medical when there was nothing wrong with him, both my grandfathers worked there when it was originally briggs motor bodies. My mum and dad met at the fords social club. This is a very sad end to a place that has a special place in a lot of local peoples hearts over a lot of years and always will murfmeister
  • Score: 0

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