By David Benson
STRIFE-HIT Leyland Trucks has been losing £2 million a week because of a recession in w o r ld markets for big lorries.
This is despite £250 million of Government cash pumped in to give the company technical facilities as good as any of its European rivals. Ironically , Leyland’s trucks-from the six tonne Roadrunner to the 65-tonne Roadtrain juggernautâ€”have been completely redesigned since 1980 and are more advanced than comparable models.
The company generates an income of £320 million a year, £62 million of it from exports. It employs 7,500 people in England and Scotland and spends £200 million a year with more than 1,000 British companies, It is a far cry from its beginnings as the Lancashire Steam Motor Corporation making powered mowers at the end of the last century.
Labour MP’s fear the buy-out could result in the loss of up to 20,000 jobs at Leyland and its suppliers. But it will be the little town of Leyland, the company’s birthplace, which is bound to feel the blow heavily. The Preston area already has unemployment running at 11.3 per cent-or one in ten of its working population.
A union campaign against the sell-off will include a mass lobby of Parliament and a meeting with Trade Secretary Paul Channon.