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Last Updated: Friday, 7 January, 2005, 07:43 GMT
Rural 'heartbeat' fears over jobs
Loading onto a lorry at Elliott's
Elliott's blames a drop in orders and objections to phone masts
There are fears that 70 workers could be made redundant at a Powys engineering firm.

Trelleborg Bonded Seals, which employs 121 people in Newtown, proposes to make the cuts during the next 12 months.

The company, which makes components for industry, said economic pressure within its sector had affected profits.

Meanwhile, Elliott Group, another firm in Newtown, has been put up for sale, it has been confirmed.

Parent company the Davis Service Group said it was in discussion with a "number of potential purchasers."

Elliott's made 70 of its 150-strong workforce redundant late last year.

Mid and West Wales Conservative AM Glyn Davies said he was seriously concerned about the economic prospects for Newtown in light of the announcements.

But the Welsh Assembly Government said unemployment in mid Wales was among the lowest in the country at 1.5%.

The economic heartbeat of Newtown, which pulsed with an almost brash confidence 15 years ago, is fading quietly
Glyn Davies AM

In a letter to staff, Dave Semple, managing director of Trelleborg in Newtown, said: "We need to return this business to an acceptable level of profit and have therefore been investigating ways of improving business performance."

"Regrettably, it is therefore necessary to propose the loss of up to 70 jobs within the Newtown site, which would be phased over 2005 if the proposal were enacted."

Elliott Group's plant in Newtown opened in 1967 and the company currently employs more than 1,300 people in 38 locations throughout the UK.

In October 2004, the firm blamed 70 job losses in Newtown on a drop in demand for its mobile phone mast structures.

It builds and equips boxes needed to operate the masts in Newtown.

In a statement on its website, the Davis Service Group Plc, which revealed an annual turnover of 995.4m in 2003, said: "In response to recent press comment, The Davis Service Group Plc confirms that it is in discussions with a number of potential purchasers of Elliott Group, a division of Davis."

Glyn Davies AM
Glyn Davies is concerned about Newtown's economic prospects

In response to the problems facing Newtown, Howard Wright, of the Transport and General Workers' Union, said hundreds of workers in the engineering sector had been made redundant in recent years in Powys.

"We need the Welsh assembly to work on getting blue chip companies into mid Wales," he said.

"We hear AMs coming out with their platitudes, but we need well-paid work in the region - there's more to Wales than just Cardiff and Swansea."

AM Mr Davies said he was seriously concerned about Newtown's economic prospects.

"All the exciting development work which modernised the mid Wales economy between the 1960s and 1990s seems to be falling apart," he said.

"The economic heartbeat of Newtown, which pulsed with an almost brash confidence 15 years ago, is fading quietly away and the assembly government is responding like a third world, out-of-hours healthcare service.

"For those of us who were at the centre of the economic regeneration that took place in Newtown over recent decades, the current apathy of those in power today is utterly despairing."

In response, an assembly government spokesman said: "The Welsh Assembly Government represents the whole of Wales and is developing a dynamic, innovative and sustainable economy across the entire country.

"The assembly government has provided significant financial support to companies throughout mid Wales, creating and safeguarding jobs across the region."


SEE ALSO:
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16 Jan 04 |  Mid


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