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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Hollywood star in Burberry battle
Ioan Gruffudd
Gruffudd has appeared in advertising campaigns for Burberry
Ioan Gruffudd could be lobbied by workers from the south Wales Burberry factory, an assembly member has warned.

The Welsh actor, who currently lives in Los Angeles, has appeared in campaigns for Burberry which announced plans to close its Rhondda plant this month.

Meanwhile, the assembly government announced it would extend its Heads of the Valleys regeneration strategy.

Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies said it would be "of help" if the factory closure went ahead.

The 500m programme was launched in June, and was designed to "dramatically transform" the Heads of the Valleys.

It's not clear that Burberry's worldwide management have fully thought through the implications
AM Leighton Andrews

The assembly government hopes the 15 year strategy will transform the prospects of valleys communities.

Mr Davies said he had asked Burberry to reconsider their decision to close the south Wales plant with the loss of 300 jobs.

He said: "I have pledged my full support to maintain the operation in the Rhondda, as have the unions.

"Should the company proceed I believe the decision I have taken today to include Treorchy and Treherbert in our Heads of the Valleys programme will be of great help."

'Global face'

In a statement, Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews said Gruffudd, who was born in Llwydcoed, near Aberdare, but now lives in Los Angeles, "could be lobbied by Burberry workers".

Speaking at the assembly, he said: "It's not clear that Burberry's worldwide management have fully thought through the implications of pulling out of Wales when the global face of Burberry is the Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd."

Burberry announced its plans to close the plant earlier this month, saying it was not "commercially viable" to keep it open.

It said production could be moved to either Asia or South America, but it stressed the closure would be a one-off, and it would not abandon the UK altogether.

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12 Jul 06 |  Business
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