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More than 10,000 jobs have been slashed in Britain’s car industry so far this year, following Ford confirming plans to shut down its engine factory in South Wales.

In a move described as the biggest blow to the region’s economy since the coal mine closures in the 1980s, the US car giant said the shutters will come down on its plant in Bridgend next September.

Most of the engines will instead be made at its plant in Mexico, where labour is cheaper.

The US car giant Ford has said the shutters will come down on its plant in Bridgend next September

The closure is expected to lead to the loss of around 1,300 jobs – as just under 400 of the plant’s 1,700 employees have already taken voluntary redundancy and are due to leave later this year.

But hundreds more jobs are expected to be lost in companies supplying goods and services. Ford also confirmed it is axing around 500 white collar staff – many of them in middle management – in an overhaul of its struggling European operations.

The closure of the 40-year-old Bridgend plant marks the latest devastating setback for Britain’s car industry.

It pushes the brutal jobs cull in the industry – long seen as one of the crown jewels in the economy – above the 10,000 mark this year.

Honda announced it will axe its Swindon plant in 2021, with the loss of around 3,500 jobs.

The closure is expected to lead to the loss of around 1,300 jobs in the South Wales factory

Lossmaking Jaguar Land-Rover also unveiled plans to slash 4,500 staff – with the vast majority of the cuts expected in Britain. Around 400 jobs at Nissan’s factory in Sunderland are thought to be at risk.

Thousands more job losses are expected at smaller manufacturing firms.

Stressing that the closure of Bridgend had ‘nothing to do with Brexit’, Ford said that the plant was underused.

Retailer cooks up 1,200 roles 

In better news for Britain’s manufacturing industry, Wren Kitchens is to plough £120million into a new facility that will create 1,200 jobs.

The retailer has submitted a planning application for a 910,000 sq ft facility at its Barton-upon-Humber headquarters. 

It will almost double the number of staff in Lincolnshire.

The roles will be in manufacturing, but the firm expects to add jobs in IT, engineering, customer service and development. 

Another 1,000 work at the company’s other sites in Scunthorpe, Howden and Hull.

Stuart Rowley, president of Ford Europe, said: ‘This is not a decision we have taken lightly but felt it was necessary to put the business on the right footing.’ It comes just days after US President Donald Trump promised to forge a ‘phenomenal’ trade deal with the UK after Brexit.

The news was delivered to workers yesterday morning as they filed in for their daily shift. They were told to go home and not return until Monday. One worker said: ‘I’ve got a family, I’ve got a mortgage, and my future has just been taken away from me.’

The Bridgend site, which opened in 1980, covers an area of 60 acres and is one of Wales’ major employers.

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of the Unite union, accused Ford of a ‘grotesque act of economic betrayal’.

Mike Hawes, of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, described it as ‘another crushing blow for UK automotive manufacturing’.

Ford, which also operates an engine plant in Dagenham as well as sites in Halewood, Merseyside, and Dunton, Essex, insisted it remains ‘committed to the UK’.

Fiat Chrysler has blamed the French government after pulling plans for a £29billion merger with Renault. A Fiat spokesman said ‘political conditions do not currently exist’ to make the deal happen.

UK’s motor manufacturing industry cuts 10,000 jobs in six months

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