Brexit uncertainty must not be allowed to put Ford jobs at risk, warns Owen Smith

Uncertainty caused by Brexit must not be allowed to put jobs at risk, former Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has warned as concern builds about the future of Ford’s Bridgend base.

The Pontypridd MP said the Government must step in if concerns about Britain’s departure from the European Union are endangering employment at the site, where union leaders fear two-thirds of jobs could go.

Mr Smith wants the UK Government to give assurances similar to those understood to have been given to car-maker Nissan.

Although Ford in Bridgend has said there is no link between Brexit and its plans for the Bridgend Engine Plant, many including Len McCluskey and former Business Secretary Vince Cable believe the issues are inextricably linked.

Owen Smith has delivered stern warnings about the threat of Brexit to the Welsh economy

He said: “If it is true that Ford have plans to cut over 1,100 jobs at its Bridgend plant then this is desperate news for workers and would be a devastating blow to the South Wales economy. The Welsh Labour Government and trade union colleagues, especially Unite, will no doubt be doing all they can to understand the situation and to protect jobs.

“The Tory Government in Westminster also has to step up and protect these jobs that are so vital for our local economy. We know that they have offered incentives and guarantees to Nissan to stay in the North East, we now need to see the same intervention in South Wales.

“Ford have already said that the post-Brexit fall in the value of the pound has cost them £600m and if there is any sense in which Brexit uncertainty is driving this decision then the Government in Westminster must respond and offer any and all reassurances that are necessary. We simply cannot afford to lose these jobs.

“I have said consistently that I feared it would be working people who end up paying the price for Brexit and I just hope and pray that I am wrong because plants like Ford in Bridgend are the mainstays of our local economy and we must retain them.”

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