AN £80m Euro loan made to Ford’s sprawling Transit plant in Turkey has been raised in the European Parliament.

Southampton’s Labour MEP Peter Skinner questioned the decision by the European Investment Bank to loan the money to the Ford Otosan factory which will take over production of the Transit from Southampton.

The cheap loan, signed off in June, will be used to retool the plant to make the next generation of Transit vans.

Mr Skinner said: “Five hundred (Southampton) workers face an uncertain future and the white van man will have to look overseas for his trusty workhorse.

“I’m concerned about the opaque process which led the European Investment Bank to give Ford’s plant in Turkey 100 million euros just months before the Southampton closure was announced.“Investments in Turkey are meant to be supplementary and create Turkish jobs not to leak EU jobs. It is naive for the EU to ignore the loans of the EIB which could be connected to job transfers out of the EU.”

The EIB has refuted any suggestion its loan funding, formally agreed in March, has “led directly”

to the loss of jobs in Southampton.

Ford said the Ford Otosan plant in Turkey is a separate joint venture business which negotiates its own financing arrangements. A spokesman insisted “categorically”

that the EIB was “unrelated”

to the Southampton closure announcement.