The Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council has described today’s closure of the Ford Engine Plant as ‘the end of a 40-year era’.
Commenting on the closure, Cllr Huw David, said: “Before the closure was announced in June last year, the Engine Plant employed almost 1,700 people. With an estimated £3.3 Billion added to the local economy over the last 10 years alone, the loss of jobs, both at the plant and within the wider supply chain, will remove more than £250m from the local economy.
“I previously told the Welsh Affairs Select Committee at the House of Commons that urgent investment and rapid action is vital to protect the county borough’s communities and local economy, and this remains the case, especially after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the disappointment of the Ineos facility deciding to relocate into Europe.
“Bridgend County Borough Council has worked alongside taskforce partners such as Welsh Government and the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal to offer support to all affected workers and to see what fresh investment can be brought into the area, and will continue to do so.
“The Engine Plant workforce featured highly-skilled, hard-working employees who provided decades of service to the plant and the company. It is encouraging to see that most of the workers have taken advantage of opportunities to retrain and develop new skills, and that more than 360 have found new employment already while around 230 have opted to retire.
“However, the fact remains that Ford served for more than four decades as an anchor company within the region, and much of this time was spent as our biggest private-sector employer.
“It is more important than ever to maximise the future opportunities posed by the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, and for UK Government and Welsh Government to work tirelessly to bring in new investment, businesses and jobs as well as supporting those that are already here and ensuring that opportunities remain available for our future generations.
“Our Special Regeneration Fund has helped local companies find ways of diversifying and investing in order to take advantage of new business opportunities, while our Kick Start fund has created fresh jobs and has supported new businesses by helping them to invest in equipment and other capital start-up costs.
“As we look towards the future, I want businesses to recognise that Bridgend County Borough remains an excellent place to invest in.
“Situated mid-way between Cardiff and Swansea and with a highly skilled local workforce on hand, the area enjoys excellent communication links with easy access to three junctions of the M4, the Swansea-to-London high-speed rail network and Cardiff International Airport.
“We can deliver a range of funding and start-up support, and the Bridgend Business Forum offers strong networking opportunities.
“Today may mark the end of a 40-year era, but we remain firmly fixed upon generating future growth and prosperity, and I invite all businesses to come and see what the area has to offer.”
· To find out more about doing business in Bridgend County Borough, visit the council’s business zone pages at www.bridgend.gov.uk