Wiltshire

Honda: Delegation to lobby firm's Japan HQ against closure

Honda plant Swindon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Honda's Swindon factory is due to close in 2021

A task group at Swindon Borough Council wants to begin talks with Honda bosses in Japan to convince them not to close down the town's plant.

The motion was put forward on Thursday evening to try and save 3,500 jobs.

Councillor Oliver Donachie said: "The hope is to go to the board in Japan, look them in the eye and tell them why Swindon is absolutely the best place to produce those vehicles."

Honda has said the move was prompted by global changes in the car industry.

'Re-examine the facts'

The task group said the main aim was to open up a dialogue with the decision makers to convince them closure was not the only option.

Mr Donachie added: "There is a sense that Honda needs to look through with a clinical eye of economic decisions and understand that Swindon in Wiltshire is the best place for electronic vehicle production that we have.

"We need them to re-examine the facts, give us the time to explain what assistances may be created through policies both locally and nationally and how that can make the future vehicle production viable at that location."

Speaking after the meeting, union representative Paddy Brennan said investment on electric vehicle production had been promised for the Swindon site for the past four or five years.

"They've been telling us, it's fine, it's coming, there's a delay.

"We've also seen business plans where electric vehicles have been made and the batteries are going to be made on site with a supply chain.

"There were ships on the way to the UK with the robots to make the electric cars and those ships were turned back - we were told by a senior figure in Honda," he added.

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Media captionHonda Europe boss Ian Howells says the decision was driven by big changes in the industry

The motion also included calls for central government to pledge to help Honda workers re-skill if the closure went ahead in three years' time.

The council agreed to set up a cross-party working group to see how the council can help in the recovery effort and to ask central government to provide financial assistance to affected families if the factory closed.

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