Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it plans to cut 10% or about 500 jobs at its Halewood plant on Merseyside.

The company aims to make the cuts by offering voluntary redundancy.

The Unite union said it understands the redundancies are a result of ongoing economic uncertainty, with slower than forecast rate of growth for the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport models produced at the factory.

Workers were told on Wednesday that job losses are a result of changing the shift system to deliver flexibility efficiencies that longer term should benefit employees and the company, which is set to come into effect from April.

The job losses comprise a mixture of permanent employees and agency staff, said Unite.

National officer Des Quinn said: “This is a further blow to the UK car industry in general and to our members at Halewood in particular.

“Unite will be ensuring that the commitment to limit job losses to voluntary redundancies is fully honoured.

“The challenges being faced at JLR are also being experienced by other UK car factories.

“The UK’s car industry has plummeted from being the jewel in the crown of the UK’s manufacturing sector in a few short years, directly as a result of Government inaction.

“Until the Government ensures that there is long-term frictionless trade and no tariffs with the European Union, along with meaningful investment in the infrastructure to ensure the success of electric vehicles, the UK’s car industry will continue to experience severe challenges.”

Jaguar Land Rover issued the following statement: "Through its ongoing transformation programme, Jaguar Land Rover is taking action to optimise performance, enable sustainable growth and safeguard the long-term success of our business.

"Central to the Halewood manufacturing strategy, we are moving from a three shift to a 'two-plus' shift pattern from April 2020.

"This will deliver significant operating efficiencies at the plant, while enabling us to meet the growing customer demand for our new Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

"This change in shift pattern affects around 10% of Halewood’s workforce.

"Jaguar Land Rover Halewood employees have the opportunity to leave through an enhanced voluntary redundancy programme."