Wales politics

Coilcolor boss claims of 'diabolical' response to jobs threat

Dean Proctor
Image caption Dean Proctor says last winter's flood cost the steel firm £3.7m

Welsh ministers have "paid lip service" to wanting to protect jobs, the boss of a Newport steel panelling company on the brink of closure has claimed.

Coilcolor, which produces blue and orange panelling for Ikea and Easyjet, flooded in November 2016.

Managing director Dean Proctor said his two-month wait for a payment he claims the Welsh Government said would take days was "diabolical".

Ministers said no such payment was promised.

One of two independent coil coating firms in the UK, Coilcolor may now have to lay off all 50 staff members after being in Newport for nearly 30 years.

It provides products for B&Q, Costa and Porsche and worked on the new Google headquarters in Holland.

Mr Proctor said government officials recently told him it would be "days rather than weeks" before a payment was provided.

"I just think it's diabolical. It's our own government - that's the worst thing about it," he said.

"They have paid lip service to wanting to preserve the jobs here and have done nothing about it really."

Image copyright Coilcolor
Image caption The Welsh Government has been asked to respond to claims the flood water came from its land

The Welsh Government did previously arrange a loan for Coilcolor through Finance Wales.

However, the company said not all of the money was released, and criticised the 11% interest rate.

Mr Proctor describes the situation as "desperate" and said the total cost of the flood is £3.7m in machinery and lost work.

Coilcolor said it cannot afford to buy new stock, although customer inquiries are up.

The company claims the water that flooded the factory came from adjoining land, owned by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government has been asked to respond to this.

Mr Proctor said he needed £600,000 to help the company and the workforce.

He claims Welsh Government officials agreed to provide a "without prejudice" payment of at least half that amount, which would arrive within days.

However he said the company has not received the money.

"What we're asking them for is a very small portion of the full claim, just enough to keep us going long enough that we can get an investor or a buyer, and we have plenty of interested parties," he said.

"When we negotiate a deal with that investor or buyer, we can ensure job security for everybody here as part of that deal".

Image caption Ministers say they have not had an official claim from Coilcolor or its insurers

The Welsh Government said it had written to Coilcolor's solicitors asking for information so any claim could be considered.

A spokesman said: "The Welsh Government has always acted promptly in handling this case, but has never received any official claim from Coilcolor or its insurers.

"We put the company in touch with Finance Wales to enable them to access financial support and have met regularly with the company while they disputed a claim with their insurers.

"No 'without prejudice' payment was ever promised by Welsh Government officials."

Nick Lock, head of property claims at Allianz, Coilcolor's insurers said: "We can confirm that following storms in November 2016 we received two flood claims from Coilcolor resulting from rainwater run-off from the adjoining land.

"As both parties are currently involved in legal discussions we are unable to offer further comment at this time."

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