After flying to New York to meet with the company’s management, business secretary Vince Cable has urged General Motors to prevent the Ellesmere Port plant from closing.
Asking the company for a “long-term commitment to the UK”, Cable met chief executive Dan Akerson on Wednesday, the same day GM announced it has created a global alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen that is expected to result in savings of £1.25bn and to turn around the company’s operations in Europe, where the Opel and Vauxhall brands are produced.
The closure of the Ellesmere Port site would cause the loss of 2,800 jobs, with negative consequences for the local economy of a city of just 60,000. GM is expected to make a decision before the end of March: it was reported that the company is looking to reduce the number of car it produces in Europe to 400,000 and that this is likely to result in the closure of the Cheshire plant.
According to the Guardian, a government source said: “Both GM vice-chairman Steve Girsky and Akerson were engaged and receptive. They were pleased that Vince Cable had gone to New York to make the case to them in person. Vince Cable also made a strong case for them to make a long-term commitment to the UK as others are doing. Investments from the automotive sector in the UK have been worth over £4bn in the last 18 months alone.”