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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Plant closure 'may cost 420 jobs'
Up to 420 people could lose their jobs when a sugar beet factory in Shropshire closes, according to a new report.

The figure includes 300 farm and contractor jobs, in addition to the full-time workers at Allscott.

It comes in a study of the closure's likely effect on the local economy, compiled by the National Farmers' Union and Shropshire County Council.

Researchers believe contractors may lose over 24m annually if the sugar beet trade is not replaced quickly.

Farm redundancies

The report adds that over 50% of farmers surveyed expect to see farm redundancies.

The findings have been presented to the Allscott Task Group, a public-private body set up to help the area to recover from the closure.

The group's members also heard that Jobcentre Plus and the Borough of Telford and Wrekin are working on a package of assistance for workers to find alternative employment.

This report confirms that the closure will have a serious impact
Malcolm Brown

Malcolm Brown, Head of Economic Development with Shropshire County Council and Chair of the Task Group, said: "This report confirms that the closure of the factory will have a serious impact on farms and related businesses.

"The county council and its partners on the Task Group will continue to work hard to determine what can be done to help the people and businesses that will be affected."

British Sugar will centralise its business at Cantley and Wissington in Norfolk, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Newark in Nottinghamshire, after the closures of Allscott and another factory near York.

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