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Brussels, 2nd March 2005

State aid: Commission approves £10 million public funding for Ford training project in UK

The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty’s rules on state aid, training aid of £10 million (€15 million) to Ford Motor Company for an extensive training project to be carried out over the next three years at Ford’s engine plant in Dagenham, Essex. The training will benefit 2000 employees and contribute significantly to the region’s competitiveness. The Commission concluded that the aid was not likely to cause undue distortion of competition within the Single Market and was therefore compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 87).

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented: “The Lisbon strategy advocates increasing investment in human capital through better education and training. The aid to Ford is fully in line with these objectives. It is the kind of “better aid” that benefits the sector, the region and society as a whole.”

Through the project, people will learn basic and transferable skills that will improve the plant’s effectiveness and performance. According to the UK Government, this will secure Dagenham’s place for the foreseeable future as a source of diesel engines for Ford group companies and safeguard around 700 jobs for the next 12–15 years.

About 2000 people will benefit from the training. Dagenham is situated in a less developed region with higher unemployment and lower income per capita compared to other UK regions. Furthermore, 50% of the plant workforce can be considered as disadvantaged on the labour market, e.g. low-skilled workers.

The aid consists of a direct grant to Ford Motor Company. The public funding will come from two different sources: the London Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council of London East. It complies with all requirements laid down in the Commission’s Regulation on Training Aid (68/2001).

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