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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 April 2006, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Government 'must help Ryton area'
Aerial shot of Ryton plant
There is a call for Assisted Area status for the Ryton area
The government should do more to help ensure Peugeot's threatened Ryton site has a future in providing employment for the region, it has been claimed.

The plea comes from Warwickshire County Council leader Alan Farnell in the week that 2,300 job losses were announced.

He said: "It is some reassurance to know redundancy packages from Peugeot are generous, but it is no substitute for the very real jobs we are losing."

Unions are still considering industrial action over the proposed closure.

'We expect more'

Mr Farnell said: "Sadly the closure of the Ryton plant is something we have expected for the last couple of years.

"Even so, we must not under-estimate its impact on more than 2,000 families whose wage earners will lose their livelihoods.

"A managed withdrawal of Peugeot from Coventry and Warwickshire is all very well, but I would hope we can expect more from the government than the sort of acquiescence characterised by the comment that the decision was a commercial matter for Peugeot.

"No wonder there is anger amongst the unions."

The council leader admitted he did not expect the closure decision to be reversed.

The authority will push for Assisted Area status, which would help bring grants and benefits to new firms setting up in the area when production at Ryton moves to a single shift in July and finish in mid-2007.

Map of Peugeot plants in Coventry
Peugeot will keep on 1,000 workers at two other plants

But councils and politicians believe local economic conditions and the nearby airport could help save the site.

The plant lies on the edge of Coventry, within the boundary of Warwickshire County Council and Rugby Borough Council, which are working with Coventry council to secure a future for the site.

Councils have met Advantage West Midlands, the chamber of commerce, Learning and Skills Council and Job Centre Plus to discuss how the proposed closure would hit the region.

Peugeot will continue to employ 1,000 people at two other Coventry bases when Ryton is closes.

Councillor Farnell said: "Of course, the economy will take the closure of Peugeot in its stride, but only at a long term cost to so many families.

"After all we are in the most successful part of the West Midlands.

"As a council there may be little we can do ourselves, but we do have influence, and we will be happy to work with all our partners, including the unions, to help influence the outcome to the benefit of Warwickshire and to replace the jobs we are losing."

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