YORK'S Labour MP has slammed a proposal to cut jobs at Nestle, and spoken of fears over what Brexit means for its future.

Rachael Maskell has reacted with shock to today's announcement that 143 jobs could be going from the York factory, along with 23 support jobs.

Nestle said the job cuts were proposals at this stage, and subject to a 45 day consultation. They are part a plan to change shift patterns and make the factory more efficient, a company spokesman said, and would be needed regardless of the Brexit vote.

Nestle confectionery is laying off 300 workers across the country, and Ms Maskell said she has learnt the losses come in light of a sharp fall in the pound and increase in import costs, fall in sales and uncertainty over the Government’s handling of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

The York Central MP said: “Workers and their families have the right to be angry that Nestle is cutting jobs in York. Rowntree’s was a family firm who invested in jobs, homes and benefits to workers and their families. Nestle has lost the significance of the company by telling 143 workers that they are no longer needed at their factory.

“I will do everything possible to get the Government to secure these manufacturing jobs in York.”

Brexit, and fears about Britain's future, are a major worry, she added.

“With the cost of imports, and uncertainty that has risen over the Government’s Brexit strategy, businesses are seeing a lack of confidence in their markets, and in their future in the UK. As EU negotiations commence, it is vital that the Government make urgent changes to its approach to safeguard the future of UK manufacturing."

Nestle depends on imports of cocoa and sugar for its York business, which has faced increasing challenges in the light of the declining economic situation, Ms Maskell said. She claimed the company had been unable to afford vital machinery investment into its York factory due to the value of the pound.

The York MP said she has already written to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ask for urgent interventions to be made to save jobs in York, and the other sites of Fawdon in Newcastle and Halifax.