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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 February, 2003, 17:23 GMT
KTH jobs set to go
The Llanidloes economy faces a bleak situation
Urgent talks to draw up a rescue plan to save 250 jobs at a car component firm in mid Wales appear to have collapsed.

A meeting between management at the KTH plant in Llanidloes and the Welsh Development Agency failed to come up with a workable rescue package to save the jobs.

KTH has blamed the latest setback on the loss of a large order to eastern Europe, which would have helped protect the workforce, who have now been put on 90-days notice of the factory closing.

Mick Bates AM: 'Working hard for solution'

The news is a body blow to the local economy, which is heavily reliant on KTH, employing one in 10 workers in the area.

Earlier this month, Glyn Davies AM described the impact of the jobs threat to the area as a "national crisis".

KTH has lost millions of pounds in recent years and is forecast to lose more money in the coming year.

A rescue package drawn up with the WDA two years ago included creating a link road past the KTH plant to an area of land to build further industrial units.

But on Friday, KTH director John Sampson informed the meeting that without a solid order book and with the firm losing money, the Llanidloes plant was no longer viable.

It will be very difficult to replace these highly paid jobs
Mick Bates AM
The loss of well-paid, skilled jobs is a particular concern to Mid Wales AM Mick Bates.

He said the threat to the KTH jobs was mirrored across the British automotive components industry.

The area's economy is largely agriculture-based, with many workers on the minimum wage, while KTH workers earn considerably more, he said.

KTH factory
Closure threat: KTH is a major employer

He praised efforts by company managers and union officials to work together to try and come up with a rescue plan.

"It will be very difficult to replace these highly paid jobs. I will be doing everything to relieve the misery for these people," said Mr Bates.

He said the task ahead now was to dampen the impact of the job losses on the local community and to maximise the potential of the town's regeneration plan.

Powys is not listed as an Objective One area so that source of European grant aid is not a viable option for the region.

Nor is Llanidloes an assisted area - which means that it does not qualify for regional assistance.



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