Honda UK plant closure 'devastating': minister

By Agence France-Presse

Honda's decision to shut its UK plant in Swindon with the loss of 3,500 jobs is "devastating", Britain's Business Secretary Greg Clark said Tuesday.

"As Honda have said, this is a commercial decision based on unprecedented changes in the global market. Regardless, this is a devastating decision for Swindon and the UK," Clark said in a statement.

"This news is a particularly bitter blow to the thousands of skilled and dedicated staff who work at the factory, their families and all of those employed in the supply chain.

"I will convene a task force in Swindon with local MPs, civic and business leaders as well as trade union representatives to ensure that the skills and expertise of the workforce is retained, and these highly valued employees move into new skilled employment."

Clark added: "The automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transition to new technology. The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now."

Honda earlier said that its only EU plant will shut in 2021, becoming just the latest Japanese firm to downsize operations in Britain as Brexit looms.