GM asked to save UK jobs

VINCE Cable has flown to New York to meet with the leaders of General Motors (GM) and asked them to commit to UK manufacturing.

The business secretary met with GM’s chief executive Dan Akerson and corporate strategy vice chairman Stephen Girsky to make the case for continued investment in its British factories.

Reports suggest the American firm is tired of substantial losses at its European subsidiary Opel – which trades as Vauxhall in the UK – and is considering shutting down its Ellesmere Port factory in Cheshire.

The plant, which employs around 2,800 people and makes the Vauxhall Astra car, is already offering voluntary redundancy packages to some 150 workers but fears are growing that the entire site could be closed.

GM survived near-bankruptcy two years ago to post record profits of $7.6bn for 2011. But these were dragged down by a $747m hit on European operations that the company described as “simply unacceptable”.

Another Opel factory in Bochumm, Germany is also facing the threat of closure as GM looks to respond to low demand by reducing production capacity in Europe by around 400,000 cars a year.