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Sudbury must remain commercially competitive if Delphi closes, MP warns

PUBLISHED: 13:52 20 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:52 20 June 2017

Delphi Diesel Systems in Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Delphi Diesel Systems in Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A local MP is urging people to focus on “positive measures” that can be taken to ensure Sudbury remains commercially competitive, if one of the town’s biggest manufacturers shuts down.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge
Photo: LUCY TAYLORSouth Suffolk MP James Cartlidge Photo: LUCY TAYLOR

It comes in the wake of the announcement by engineering firm Delphi Diesel Systems that they are considering closing their Newton Road plant with the loss of more than 500 jobs.

A consultation began on Friday and a final decision is expected to be made by August.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge spoke to the company’s head of operations this week and has a meeting scheduled with government business minister Claire Perry.

He said while no decision has been made about the future of Delphi – which makes diesel fuel injectors and filters for commercial vehicles - the town should “prepare for the worst”.

“This is because the reason they [Delphi] have given is one which is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future,” Mr Cartlidge said.

“There is a global move against diesel in terms of potential demand with lots of cities bringing in regulations about diesel pollution. On that basis Delphi think they have got to rationalise their industrial footprint because they believe demand is going to fall by as much as 25%. Unfortunately it looks like Sudbury will take part of the cost of that.”

If the closure goes ahead, some production will move to Gloucestershire but the majority of the plant will go to Romania. Up to 20% of current staff will be offered relocation to Gloucestershire.

Mr Cartlidge added: “The number one thing is to support the fantastic workforce who have so many embedded skills. We then have to ask what steps we can take to ensure that Sudbury remains competitive and attractive for businesses to invest in.

“A good example would be to push for a bypass to give us a far greater ability for industrial firms based in Sudbury to get their goods in and out of the town.”

Unite union official Neal Evans also met Delphi management this week. He said: “The site is competitive and we understand that it is making £1 million a month in profit. We will be calling on the employer to think more strategically, make a strong commitment to Sudbury’s future and rescind this flawed plan.”

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