Did Government know of closure plan before agreeing Ford cash deal?

THE Daily Echo can reveal today that Ford was approved a Government handout – less than a week before yesterday’s shock closure announcement.

The taxpayer-funded grant, aimed at creating jobs in Essex, was rubber-stamped on Friday.

Last night pressure mounted on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to reveal whether the Government had been aware about the bombshell job news when it signed off the cash.

A BIS spokeswoman said the low carbon diesel engine was a separate project judged on its own merits, saying the Government would “not give a running commentary” on talks with the company.

Asked about the timing of the Regional Growth Fund award and the closure of the Southampton plant, she said: “They are entirely separate things.”

But Southampton Itchen MP John Denham said: “It would be appalling if BIS agreed to give this money to Ford without being told by Ford of the job losses that were coming down the line.

"If they did know about the job losses they should have negotiated for a better outcome.

“The idea that this is a separate project is just not the right way to look at it.”

He added: “I would have expected the Government to have demanded knowledge of Ford’s plans before they agreed to give them money.

“I think it’s fine and right that Governments should work with companies to invest in new technologies, but first they should sit down and say ‘what is your strategy for this country?’”

 

Last night Mark Hoban, the Employment Minister and MP for Fareham, said: “I was not aware of these plans.”

He is not in the same department as Business Secretary Vince Cable, who unveiled last Friday’s investment.

The award could still be withdrawn, as it is still subject to due diligence, and the company does not yet have access to the cash.

The size of the proposed grant, under the £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund, is confidential.

The fund is aimed at job creation and companies are invited to bid for targeted grants for specific projects.

Business leaders in Hampshire have previously criticised the way it is run, saying it favours the north of England over the south east.

Dr Cable admitted yesterday’s news would be “very disappointing” for the workers at Southampton, but insisted: “Ford has today underlined its continued long-term commitment to its core activities in the UK and its £1.5 billion programme of investment in advanced manufacturing, engineering and research and development until 2015.

“And the company has today announced that production of the new low-carbon diesel engine will start in 2015/16 which is being designed and engineered at Dunton and built at Dagenham.

"This is good news and underlines Ford’s commitment for the long-term. Ford has applied for money from round three of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to enable this project to go ahead and we were pleased last Friday to announce support for this going forward.”

Comments (4)

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9:44am Fri 26 Oct 12

Southampton boy says...

Sound like Mr Cable knows more then he letting on too! Fords are good at taken and not very good at supporting, it's alright for everyone to talk about pay offs and how good they will be but I now that most of the workers would have liked to keep there jobs, I understand that they will be getting arouind 2 years pay how does that stack up to 30 years employment??
Looking at the photo on this site of one af the managers with his big smilling face makes you wonder how much is he being paid long trem employment is what we need not short trem pay offs may Mr Cable could go to Honda and see if they would like to take over the site and build there own van its hurts to see this happing to another company in Southampton so as from next year all Fords will be imported my be we should be looking at putting on import tax and may be the EU should be looking a Turkey and putting import taxs onto them could go on but to up setting to see this happing
Sound like Mr Cable knows more then he letting on too! Fords are good at taken and not very good at supporting, it's alright for everyone to talk about pay offs and how good they will be but I now that most of the workers would have liked to keep there jobs, I understand that they will be getting arouind 2 years pay how does that stack up to 30 years employment?? Looking at the photo on this site of one af the managers with his big smilling face makes you wonder how much is he being paid long trem employment is what we need not short trem pay offs may Mr Cable could go to Honda and see if they would like to take over the site and build there own van its hurts to see this happing to another company in Southampton so as from next year all Fords will be imported my be we should be looking at putting on import tax and may be the EU should be looking a Turkey and putting import taxs onto them could go on but to up setting to see this happing Southampton boy
  • Score: 0

9:45am Fri 26 Oct 12

Southampton boy says...

Sound like Mr Cable knows more then he letting on too! Fords are good at taken and not very good at supporting, it's alright for everyone to talk about pay offs and how good they will be but I now that most of the workers would have liked to keep there jobs, I understand that they will be getting arouind 2 years pay how does that stack up to 30 years employment??
Looking at the photo on this site of one af the managers with his big smilling face makes you wonder how much is he being paid long trem employment is what we need not short trem pay offs may Mr Cable could go to Honda and see if they would like to take over the site and build there own van its hurts to see this happing to another company in Southampton so as from next year all Fords will be imported my be we should be looking at putting on import tax and may be the EU should be looking a Turkey and putting import taxs onto them could go on but to up setting to see this happing
Sound like Mr Cable knows more then he letting on too! Fords are good at taken and not very good at supporting, it's alright for everyone to talk about pay offs and how good they will be but I now that most of the workers would have liked to keep there jobs, I understand that they will be getting arouind 2 years pay how does that stack up to 30 years employment?? Looking at the photo on this site of one af the managers with his big smilling face makes you wonder how much is he being paid long trem employment is what we need not short trem pay offs may Mr Cable could go to Honda and see if they would like to take over the site and build there own van its hurts to see this happing to another company in Southampton so as from next year all Fords will be imported my be we should be looking at putting on import tax and may be the EU should be looking a Turkey and putting import taxs onto them could go on but to up setting to see this happing Southampton boy
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Fri 26 Oct 12

johnedwardss053 says...

So the cats out of the bag. The coalition govt knew about the closure in advance.

Your other commenter is quite right to ask what was Lib Dem Vince Cable doing to save yet more jobs going overseas. At a time when PM Cameron was announcing a 1% growth for the UK, Ford workers were being sold down the river, despite previous agreements made with Ford.

You have to also ask about the way these multinational companies play global economic chess with peoples lives. As usual, its the poor workers, thier families and communities who suffer through thier actions in pursuit of profit from cheap overseas labour.

We were once told that the free movement of business would benefit us. You get what you vote for, only you dont know it at the time.
So the cats out of the bag. The coalition govt knew about the closure in advance. Your other commenter is quite right to ask what was Lib Dem Vince Cable doing to save yet more jobs going overseas. At a time when PM Cameron was announcing a 1% growth for the UK, Ford workers were being sold down the river, despite previous agreements made with Ford. You have to also ask about the way these multinational companies play global economic chess with peoples lives. As usual, its the poor workers, thier families and communities who suffer through thier actions in pursuit of profit from cheap overseas labour. We were once told that the free movement of business would benefit us. You get what you vote for, only you dont know it at the time. johnedwardss053
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Fri 26 Oct 12

Lone Ranger. says...

Down get suckered in by the crocodile tears of this useless and incompetent Tory led coalition
Down get suckered in by the crocodile tears of this useless and incompetent Tory led coalition Lone Ranger.
  • Score: 0

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