Osbourne in Transit row

Time 9:37 am, November 8, 2012

CHANCELLOR George Osborne has been slammed for backing an £80m loan to a Ford factory in Turkey that stole work away from the firm’s Southampton plant.

The Hampshire factory has been slated for closure by Ford bosses as production of the Transit van moves from Southampton to the Turkish facility in Kocaeli.

The EU payout – which was backed by the Tory chancellor – is believed to have played an important role in the Blue Oval’s decision to stop making vehicles in the UK.

The closure of the Southampton plant, as well as cuts at its Dagenham engine production site, will lead to 1,100 job losses.

Osborne backed the massive loan – which has an interest rate of just two per cent – despite Turkey not even being a member of the EU.

The chancellor’s rubber stamping has been slammed by the opposition which is demanding to know why it got the green light just days after the shocking news for Ford employees in the UK.

“The closure of Ford’s Southampton plant is a devastating blow with 1,100 jobs going as a result and the end of Ford producing vehicles in Britain,” Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna told the Daily Mirror.

“The Turkish plant which won the contract over Southampton did so with the help of a loan from the European Investment Bank of which George Osborne is governor. Why did he allow this to happen?

“This week Lord Heseltine was right to say ministers should back British business by supporting key sectors like car production. The Chancellor claims he agrees with him but this calls that all into question.”

Ford is planning to expand production in Turkey from 210,000 vans a year to around 290,000 by 2014.


James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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