Jobs lost as Standard Soap factory closes

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Soap factory
Image caption,
Factory workers have been told the last day of production will be 2 January

A Leicestershire soap factory is to close with the loss of 155 jobs.

The Standard Soap Factory in Ashby De La Zouch opened in 1928 and was taken over by Malaysian company KLK in 1995.

It is now set to shut on 2 January, according to the Usdaw union. Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said it was a "real blow".

KLK, which produces the luxury brand Crabtree and Evelyn, has not yet commented on the closure.

Mr Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, said he was not surprised by the closure.

The company had fallen victim to "changing appetites", he said.

"The market has moved from bars of soap to liquid soaps," he said.

Brian Baptiste, from Usdaw, which has about 50 members among the workforce, said: "It is bad news and has come at the wrong time of the year.

"We are doing everything to support our members. We are trying to get them work elsewhere but in the current economic climate it's not very good news."

Nicholas Rushton, deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council and an Ashby resident, said there was little the authority could do to prevent the situation.

"As far as I'm aware the company hasn't asked for help from anybody at all," he said.

"I do think they have made substantial efforts over the last few years in investment in the factory and I think things just aren't working out.

"Ashby is a resilient town. We're resilient people and I'm sure we'll battle on through this," he said.

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