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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 July 2006, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Task Group looks at sugar losses
Farmers, councillors and regional business leaders are meeting on Monday in the wake of news that British Sugar is to shut a Shropshire plant.

The sugar beet factory at Allscott, and another near York, will close in 2007, the firm said this week.

A Task Group will look at ways to help staff, farmers and businesses overcome some of the problems that will follow.

The county council, National Farmers' Union and Advantage West Midlands are meeting at Shirehall, Shrewsbury.

'What can be done?'

John Hurst-Knight, Shropshire County Council's cabinet member for economy, said: "This comes at an already difficult time for some Shropshire farmers and will seriously impact on many local businesses.

"The county council has moved quickly with partner organisations to look at the issues and consider what can be done to help staff and businesses that will be affected."

The Allscott sugar factory was built in 1927. It has a full-time staff of 85, but this rises to 150 during the four-month processing season.

British Sugar is set to close its Shropshire and Yorkshire plants and then centralise work at four sites: Cantley and Wissington in Norfolk, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Newark, Nottinghamshire.

Chief Executive Mark Carr said previously: "While changes like this are difficult, they are necessary if we are to ensure the long term sustainability of this industry in the UK."

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