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Friday, 12 May, 2000, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Ten-point plan for Dagenham

Cars will no longer be built at Dagenham
A regeneration plan for Ford's loss-making plant in Essex the Essex Ford plant has been announced by the government following 1,900 job losses.

Trade Secretary Stephen Byers said the job losses were "disappointing and regrettable" but added that Ford had given a clear sign of its commitment to the Essex factory.

The company is to make Dagenham its European centre for diesel engine production, creating 500 jobs.

A Downing Street spokesman said Prime Minister Tony Blair had spoken to the head of Ford and was keen to work closely with the company to achieve the best outcome for Dagenham.

Skills plan

The 10-point plan includes help from the employment service, retraining programmes, loan finance for new small businesses and work to attract inward investment.

Mr Byers said: "It will be a plan based on training to provide skills for those people that don't have them and raising the level of existing skills."

He added that the government wanted Ford to delay implementation of any decision to end car production at the plant for as long as possible to allow workers to adjust to the changed circumstances.

Portillo blames taxes

The new mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said he would wait to see how Dagenham workers reacted to Ford's announcement.

"If the workforce decides to stand and fight they will get my backing," he said.

Earlier, shadow chancellor Michael Portillo said the government should not intervene directly to prevent job losses at Dagenham.

Government money would create "a very old Labour situation," Mr Portillo told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme.

He blamed the government for "piling on" taxes and regulation on manufacturing industry. "And then it sees businesses getting into difficulty," he added.

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See also:

12 May 00 | Business
Ford jobs blow for Dagenham
10 May 00 | Business
Rover looks to future
24 Apr 00 | Business
Unions pledge fight for Ford
10 May 00 | Business
Blair to fight for Ford jobs
03 Feb 00 | Business
Ford's European troubles
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