A summary of the Ford Bridgend Taskforce's purpose.

Aim

The Ford Bridgend Taskforce has been established to provide ministers with advice on how to protect and grow the economic environment to support those workers and communities affected by the closure of Bridgend Engine Plant.

In order to build resilience and confidence for the future it will focus on:

  • attracting new investment from a range of industries with high quality employment opportunities to replace the contribution to GVA previously been made by Ford
  • prioritising local investments to maximise impact on the areas and people most affected by the potential closure
  • enabling a long term skills pipeline aligned with secured investment
  • addressing, maintaining and improving health trends of affected workers and families.

Focus

Three work streams will be established:

  • people: to support all workers and their families directly and indirectly affected by the closure (jobs, health, well-being, financial stability)
  • potential: to identify and promote the economic opportunities of the site, the area, workforce, and supply chain in order to create viable and sustainable commercial options
  • place: to build on the economic and social resilience of the Bridgend community to maintain, promote and grow economic confidence.

Context

On 6 June, Graham Hoare, Chair of Ford UK, informed the Welsh and UK governments that the company intends to begin a consultation to close its Bridgend engine plant in September 2020, move production of its Dragon engine to Mexico and cease all the assembly and manufacture of other products.

The potential direct job losses are in excess of 1700 and the largest seen in a generation in Wales. In addition business and workers in the supply chain will be affected, in particular local business providing services to the plant.

Objectives

The Taskforce will identify and oversee the practical actions that support the people, place and potential of the site that can be taken in response to the announcement by Ford.

It will:

  • identify, assess and prioritise new investment and high quality employment opportunities to develop a pipeline of opportunities to replace lost jobs and GVA contribution
  • identify the direct and indirect UK supply chains for plant
  • co-ordinate existing social and economic support structures and programmes that will contribute to the well-being of the region
  • make recommendations or commission action from taskforce members to address the gap in need and existing provision
  • identify and empower the stakeholders to influence the wellbeing of the Region for its positive long term.

Support

Taskforce secretariat support will be provided by Welsh and UK government officials.

Timing

The Taskforce has been established for a period of 6 months. At this point a review will be conducted and recommendations made on further work required and how this should be conducted.

Membership

Membership will be flexible and include affected stakeholders and demonstrate expertise as required by the taskforce and workstreams:

  • Chair – Richard Parry Jones
  • Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport
  • Rt Hon Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales
  • Ford
  • work stream leads
  • trade union representatives
  • local authority representation (Bridgend)
  • Cardiff Capital Region representative
  • local health boards
  • trade body representation
  • further and higher education
  • Careers Wales
  • political representatives
  • Welsh government officials
  • UK government officials (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/
    Department for International Trade/ Department for Work and Pensions/ 
    Office of the Secretary of State for Wales).

Communications

The Taskforce will undertake joint communications, seeking advice as necessary.  A communications and stakeholder engagement plan will be developed in order to establish the principles and methods for communicating the work of the Taskforce to the workforce, community and media.

Principles of operation

  • it is not the remit or purpose of the Taskforce to engage in recrimination or blame about the proposed closure
  • the Taskforce will establish and maintain trust within the Taskforce, with governments, with the community
  • the Taskforce is a jobs, enterprise, and place initiative with a delivery focus
  • the Taskforce will draw together partners from across the political spectrum with a focus on co-operation to achieve the aims and objective of the Taskforce
  • the Taskforce will be fully supported by civil servants (including press officers) who will jointly update ministers as necessary.