On February 19 2019, Honda first announced its decision to close the South Marston plant in 2021, putting 3,500 jobs at risk.

The international car manufacturer revealed it made the decision due to a restructure of its global manufacturing network which focused on production of electrified cars and stressed that Brexit was not a factor.

Katsushi Inoue, chief officer for European regional operations at Honda Motor Co Ltd and president of Honda Motor Europe, said at the time: “In light of the unprecedented changes that are affecting our industry, it is vital that we accelerate our electrification strategy and restructure our global operations accordingly.”

The news was leaked to Sky News the day before, which meant that the first time the plant’s 3,500 workers heard that their jobs were in jeopardy was from TV, radio or social media accounts covering the story.

In September 2019, Honda executive Ian Howells told BBC Radio 5 Live that production would continue at the Swindon plant, so the news of its impending closure a few months later came as a massive shock. Repeated attempts by politicians, business leaders and unions to convince Honda to stay, and even the organising of a major march with thousands of people marching through Swindon, could not change its mind.

The closure of the Honda plant is expected to have a knock-on effect along the supply chain which includes an estimated 12,000 employees.

A support committee set up by Swindon Borough Council is working with around 100 partners in different groups to help the 3,500 workers affected at the plant as well as the many companies involved in Honda’s extensive supply chain who will soon lose a major customer.

In October, separate company Honda Logistics announced that it will cut hundreds of jobs after the neighbouring manufacturer leaves because its business would no longer be viable.

In November, TS Tech workers protested about an apparent lack of clarity over the future of the company and worried that any necessary redundancy payments would be minimal.

A spokesman reassured the firm’s 410 employees that it is “working hard to find new customers” and “initial proposals have been well received”, though it is preparing for “every eventuality” and any redundancy payments would be “in excess of statutory”.