Councils unite over closure of Chard business
They have spent most of the summer disagreeing passionately about a unitary authority. However today Val Keith and and David Fothergill joined together to release a joint statement. The Leaders of South Somerset District Council and Somerset County Council respectively, were concerned by the news from Chard. Oscar Mayer, one of the town’s largest employers, is considering closing all their activities in Chard. The business activities would move elsewhere in the UK. The company also has sites at Wrexham and Erith in Kent. As the company employs nearly 900 people in Chard this will be a major blow. Yesterday the company announced they were consulting with the workforce over the future of the Chard sites.
Today David Fothergill and Val Keitch issued the following joint statement:
“We were saddened to hear the news of the potential loss of Oscar Mayer and 860 jobs from their factories in Chard. This is a blow to the economy and the community of Chard at what is already a challenging time. We are committed to working together to support all those at risk of losing their jobs, to find new work and, where needed, retraining opportunities. We are also committed to developing a plan of action to support Chard, its communities and economy moving forward. We are convening a Multi-agency task force to deal with the immediate impacts of the potential job losses.
We have already contacted the relevant partners to start working together immediately and we are heartened by the swiftness of their response and readiness to help. We will also be working with Marcus Fysh MP to support the convening of a business group to look at redeployment opportunities for those at risk and what actions and initiatives we might take forward together to support the local economy and its development.
With Marcus Fysh, we will be seeking to enlist the support of government to ensure we have the right resources to help the economic recovery and regeneration of Chard and support the residents and communities of the town. Despite the other challenges we face at this time, residents of Chard should be assured that both Somerset County Council and South Somerset District Council, together with our partners are there for the town and its communities.”