POLITICIANS from Torfaen have lent their support to the staff of the M&S store in Cwmbran which has been earmarked for closure.

Last month, 74 jobs were put at risk after it was announced the store was one of 17 stores across the UK that could be set to close.

Torfaen representatives Lynne Neagle AM and Nick Thomas-Symonds MP met with the company for an urgent meeting over the potential closure of the store.

Following the meeting, Ms Neagle and Mr Thomas-Symonds issued a joint statement saying that they were available to help staff throughout the discussions and ensure that they would be treated fairly throughout the process.

They said: “In our discussions with M&S on Friday we made clear the impact that the closure of the Cwmbran store would have on employees and the local economy.

“We understand there will now be a formal consultation on the proposal. We made clear that all staff must be treated fairly and any alternative proposals put forward appropriately considered.

“We stand ready to help and support staff throughout the process.”

Currently, M&S are holding a consultation with staff at the Cwmbran store as the proposed closure is discussed.

They said that they are hopeful that most of the 74 members of staff will be able to be redeployed at another M&S store.

The nearest stores to M&S Cwmbran are M&S Friars Walk Newport Foodhall and M&S Newport Retail Park.

The proposed closure of the store in Cwmbran Centre is part of M&S’s programme to reshape its UK store estate.

M&S decided not to comment on the nature of the discussions with the county’s representatives, but said that they were working towards a solution that benefits the staff and the local area.

A spokeswoman said: “We will always engage with a town’s representatives on a proposed closure of a store and value their feedback.

“However, we wouldn’t go into detail on these discussions.”

The proposed closure of the Cwmbran store is one of 17 closures announced as part of Marks & Spencer’s ‘radical transformation plan’, putting approximately 1,045 jobs at risk.

The announcement comes in addition to 38 previously announced locations, of which 30 have already shut.

In total, the retailer plans to close more than 100 stores as part of its target to generate one third of sales online by 2022.