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Live Reporting

By Catryn Jenkins, Chris Wood and Caleb Spencer

All times stated are UK

  1. End of an era

    And that brings us to the end of our live coverage on the announcement that Ford are set to close their plant at Bridgend with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

    There will be more reaction on BBC Wales news online and other BBC services.

    We leave you with this video of the plant's history.

    Video content

    Video caption: Bridgend Ford closure: End of an era
  2. 'Three conclusions'

    There are three conclusions to be drawn from the news that Ford will close its Bridgend plant, according to Prof Karel Williams, an automotive expert from Manchester Business School:

    • He said it highlights the limits of the Welsh Government's "inward investment strategy". While inward investment from big firms - encouraged by the Welsh Government through incentives - is not a bad idea, he argued a wiser strategy would be to encourage the growth of Welsh businesses which can employ large numbers of people locally, and are not as vulnerable to global markets.
    • Bridgend Ford closure is "collateral damage" from other "larger developments", he added. In particular, he said the emissions scandal had accelerated the push toward electric engines.
    • Prof Williams added that supply chains in mainland Europe would be harder hit than those in Bridgend because the plant works assembling and exporting engines from imported components. However, a relatively small number of jobs in the local service sector - such as grounds maintenance, IT, electrical - would be at risk.
    Prof Karel Williams
  3. 'Nothing to do with Brexit'

    Former leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Assembly, Andrew RT Davies reacts to Bridgend MP Madeline Moon's claim that Brexit was the reason for Ford's decision

    View more on twitter
  4. 'Not a family who won't be affected'

    Huw David

    "There is not a family who will not be affected by the closure of the Ford plant," the leader of Bridgend council Huw David said following the announcement.

    He added that he did not know "how we are going to recover from this".

    "We are hoping the plant can be saved," he said.

    "It’s a long shot but we have a fabulous workforce here. Both governments want to keep the jobs here.

    "It’s our single biggest private employer in Bridgend and has a workforce from Newport to Llanelli."

  5. 'Crushing blow for UK automotive sector'

    “Today’s announcement is another crushing blow for UK automotive manufacturing and, especially, the staff and their families in and around Bridgend," said Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes.

    "Ford’s challenges are not unique: economic uncertainty at home and abroad, technological change and global trade issues are stressing markets and forcing companies to review operations and make difficult decisions.

    "Success in this fiercely competitive global industry, however, starts at home and we hope that all efforts will be made over the coming weeks to restore confidence, bolster demand and ensure there is long term competitiveness for this crucial sector.”

  6. 'Task force' to be set up

    The Welsh Government has confirmed it will set up a task force to help workers find other jobs following Ford's announcement to close its Bridgend factory.

  7. £11m to be repaid by Ford

    Ford's European president Stuart Rowley confirms the company will repay £11m in incentives offered by the Welsh Government.

  8. Workers leaving the plant

    Ford worker
    Ford workers
    Ford workers
    Ford plant, Bridgend
  9. Unite says Ford 'betrayed' workforce

    Des Quinn

    Des Quinn, National Officer of Unite was in the meeting at Ford HQ in Brentwood this morning.

    He told the BBC News Channel that Ford had "betrayed" its workforce in Bridgend.

    "We don't believe the plant had to close - it may have become inevitable because of the actions of the company.

    "When the company talked about making the Dragon engine in the UK they talked about making 500,000 - but reduced that to 250,000 and then down to 120,000 because they've put that global platform elsewhere in low cost economies.

    "The UK is an important profitable market for Ford to sell cars and we think they should be building engines here and supporting the market they rely on to make a profit.

    "Unfortunately you can only judge Ford by its actions. Ford had 27 plants in the UK, we're down to five, four if this closure proposal goes through.

    "It will be absolutely devastating, not just to Bridgend, it will be devastating to Wales as a country. It will be devastating to UK manufacturing because of the supply chain which goes to the four corners of the UK and wider to Europe.

    "It's devastating to the communities - the local pubs and clubs and shops that will also be hit because of this.

    "It's absolutely dreadful news and a betrayal of Ford workers in Bridgend.

    "It's been some time in coming.

    "It's been inaction from the company that's got us here. Performance was improving in the plant and we were keen to get new products in there and unfortunately the reluctance from the company to move forward with that has got us to this stage."

  10. Analysis

    Professor Peter Wells, director of automotive industry research at Cardiff University said: “Unfortunately Bridgend is caught up in the middle of the situation Fords finds itself in. They simply have too much capacity, not enough successful models and badly in need of restricting the whole operation across Europe.

    “The future for Bridgend workers looks relatively bleak unless they can find new work.

    “They have a fantastic track record and with the appropriate investment they could be making other things.

    “But the investment climate in general in the UK, particularly for the automotive sector, is very poor and unless they’ve got work, they are going to struggle.”

    Prof Peter Wells
  11. Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns reacts

    Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “I fully recognise that this an extremely worrying and uncertain time for Ford workers, their families in Bridgend and the surrounding communities.

    "The UK Government will work closely with Ford, the trade unions and the Welsh Government, to make sure this highly-valued workforce can move into new skilled employment.

    “In my discussions with Ford management, they have confirmed that they will offer redeployment opportunities to staff while colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions are standing by to provide advice and support to others in the local area.

    “The UK government remains committed to protecting and creating jobs in Wales.

    "We will do all we can to ensure that the skilled Welsh workforce continues to be a world leader in the automotive sector through our established programmes which are aimed at maintaining our strength and competitiveness as the nature of the industry rapidly changes.”

    ENDS

  12. 'It will kill the town'

    Shopper Kath James said: "I think it will kill the town completely.

    "There's not much left in the town, it's the only thing bringing people in.

    "The banks are closing, the only thing we have left are charity shops."

    Bridgend town centre
  13. 'I packed everything up to come here'

    Claire Shortland, 47, is a supervisor who has worked for the company for 27 years.

    Asked what the mood was like inside the factory when the news was given, she said: "Dismal, but sort of expected really.

    "We expected it, but not as soon as this.

    "I just don't know what I'm going to do now. I sort of packed everything up and came here from Southampton when we stopped making Transit and now this."

    Ford sign
  14. Dynamic workers 'must not be lost'

    The Federation of Small Businesses Wales said it was a “devastating blow” for Bridgend and the wider region, especially workers for Ford and the supply chain.

    Head of external affairs Ben Cottam said: “For 40 years, Ford has been part of the economic landscape of Wales and has a long-established, embedded and innovative supply chain of smaller businesses in Wales and beyond.

    “UK and Welsh governments now need to move quickly and as a priority, work with individual businesses and business organisations to gauge the potential impact and determine what support will be needed.”

    He called the dynamism of the employees a “huge asset to Wales” and said it “must not be lost”.

  15. UK government reacts

    A UK government spokesman said: “Ford’s announcement today follows earlier announcements that the company has made about its ongoing global restructuring plans, nevertheless the news of their intention and consultation on closing the Bridgend plant will be very worrying for the dedicated workforce.

    “Ford has committed to supporting employees throughout the consultation process and beyond, including with redeployment opportunities to other Ford sites in the UK.

    "At the same time, they have also reaffirmed their commitment to their other sites in the UK.

    "The UK government will be working closely with Ford, local stakeholders and trade union representatives through the consultation.”

    Bridgend Ford
  16. Dragon engines sourced from Mexico

    Ford Europe's president Stuart Rowley said: "We will be sourcing Dragon engines from Mexico but we will not move the production facility from Bridgend to Mexico."

    Ford plant