A HAMPSHIRE grandmother has branded the Prime Minister’s response to her plea to the Government to step in and help Ford as “disgraceful.”

More than 1,000 people put their name to Paola Slominski’s appeal for the Government to provide the £100m needed to retool the giant Southampton plant.

The 77-year-old Eastleigh pensioner posted the on-line petition on the 10 Downing Street web page in the hope of securing the future of the factory and its 1,100 workers, including her son Stephen.

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After months of waiting Gordon Brown finally sent a response to the firebrand grannie.

The paragraph posted, which does not mention the cash needed to keep the plant at full production, stated: “The Govern-ment are aware of the valuable contribution the Ford Transit plant at Southampton makes to the UK.

“The Government welcomes the fact that Ford has recently committed to retaining manufacture of the Transit ‘chassis cab’ variant at the site and the Government continues to be in regular discussion with the company.”

Paola said: “I am disgusted they can say they welcome Ford’s decision to drastically cut staff numbers. I feel sorry for those poor boys.

“They have already got rid of 500 and they are going to have to get rid of more when this new plan comes in.

“They are just hacking away at it bit by bit and I don’t feel very confident for the future of the plant.”

Daily Echo: Read our in depth coverage of this subject The Government response went on to refer to the package of measures it claims to have put in place to save the ailing motor trade.

The petition was first posted after it emerged the motor giant was to cut output from 75,000 vehicles a year to just 35,000 chassis cabs, slash jobs and export production of the iconic British Transit to Turkey.

However, this plan has been put on hold due to the economic downturn – which has lead to the company axing more than 500 jobs.

The first sign of question marks over the Swaythling operation came last July when the Daily Echo exclusively published a leaked company memo which revealed the plant was under review.