Statement from Richard Burden on MG Rover


The news from Munich this week has left the Midlands in a state of shock. As the region comes to terms with BMW’s appalling decision to break up the Rover group, many thousands of people are in fear for their jobs. The workforce at Longbridge, quite rightly, feel betrayed by BMW. And the break up of Rover means uncertainty not only for Rover workers themselves but for the 50,000 or so people in the West Midlands whose businesses are dependent on Longbridge.

But people in this area are determined not to be beaten and the Labour government are backing us. Within 24 hours of BMW’s decision, the Government had announced a special Task Force to help deal with the effects of the changes. £129 million was made available straight away to help rebuild the local economy and create new opportunities for the future both in manufacturing and elsewhere.

We will not accept BMW’s action as a fait accompli. A rally to demonstrate the Midlands’ faith in Longbridge looks certain to attract massive support. We are asking Alchemy searching questions and are actively checking out alternatives. Productivity at Longbridge has risen dramatically over the last two years and seizing this opportunity to invest in the plant would be a shrewd move for a farsighted motor manufacturer. Our communities are strong and Birmingham, as a City, is on the up, attracting new investment into both traditional and new industries. BMW’s breach of trust has been a blow to us all but we will not be beaten.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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