17/12/2004

Ford investment in east London plant welcomed

A £4.5m grant to create up to 460 jobs at a manufacturing facility in Dagenham, Essex, has been announced by Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

The Department of Trade and Industry grant, Selective Finance for Investment in England (SFIE), has been offered to Ford Motor Company Limited as part of a £169m investment project to build two diesel engines, creating up to 460 jobs. The project has been secured for Dagenham in the face of strong European competition.

"This is great news for Ford workers and a huge boost to Dagenham this Christmas. It shows the Government's firm commitment to high-value automotive manufacturing and we have worked hard, along with Ford and the London Development Agency, to make it a reality," said Patricia Hewitt. "Today's announcement helps maintain the UK position as a global centre of automotive manufacturing excellence"

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone described the jobs announcemnt as "fantastic news for Dagenham and the wider Thames Gateway",

He said: "As well as help from the DTI, this investment has resulted from the excellent work of the London Development Agency and the Learning & Skills Council London East who have agreed in principle to contribute together nearly £13m to this initiative so that 1800 people can benefit from a comprehensive training package at the Dagenham plant.

"This new investment underlines the commitment of central government and regional agencies to work in partnership with the private sector to regenerate the area. We will continue to work closely together to bring better employment, training and business opportunities for local people in the Thames Gateway and across the capital".

Ford of Britain Chairman Roger Putnam commented: "We are delighted that we will now enhance our presence here with this important project. It is good news for Ford, for the economy of East London and for the UK as a whole. The investment, will transform Dagenham into a state of the art facility."

Last month the DTI awarded GETRAG FORD Transmissions, a Ford partnership, a £5 million grant to build a new six-speed transmission system, resulting in 736 being jobs being safeguarded in Halewood, Merseyside.

Ford Motor Company employs 335,000 people worldwide, and in 2003 generated revenues of more than $164 billion.

(SP)

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