LDV managers and workers were angered last week when they were forced to cancel a planned lobby of Parliament because of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle. The alternative to a state-backed loan could be a cost to the Treasury of up to £53m in unemployment benefits and lost taxes in the first year alone if the firm is allowed to close, they argue.


They contend that the change in the ownership of GM’s European operation places a question mark over the future of its van plant in Luton. They go on to claim that industry experts believe that uncertainty surrounds the future of the Ford Transit factory in Southampton too.

If LDV’s Birmingham plant is allowed to shut as well, say the managers, then that could spell the end of all panel van production in Britain. Troubled LDV’s closure could lead to the loss of 4,000 jobs because of the impact on dealers and suppliers, says marketing director, Guy Jones. “We’re calling on the government to take action,” he adds.

Ford has stated that Southampton will stay open for the foreseeable future, but from 2011 will concentrate on the production of chassis cabs rather than vans. All Transit vans will be built in Turkey.