MP hopes Powertrain workers get British


Richard Burden MP (Birmingham Northfield) will meet managers and employees at BMW’s Powertrain plant tomorrow as the German company prepare to sell the engine production facility. Mr Burden is expected to press for a speedy resolution to the sale and sees the benefits of transfer to the neighbouring MG Rover plant.

Mr Burden said:

“As their major customer, it would make good sense if MG Rover acquired Powertrain and reunited the two factories which lie adjacent to each other. I understand that Powertrain already have an agreement which gives security of supply to both MG Rover and Land Rover, however the entire process could be made a lot simpler if the British company owned both facilities.

“In addition to MG Rover, Chinese company ‘Brilliance’ are rumoured to have an interest in acquiring Powertrain. In the People’s Republic, Brilliance Automotives are known for making minibuses, though they last month signed an agreement to receive technical consulting services from BMW. Before his meeting with Powertrain’s Managing Director Bob Bowlam, Mr Burden said:

“The deal should be done as quickly as possible for the sake of almost 1500 employees in the plant. There is always a cloud of uncertainty for workers across the fiercely competitive motor industry. I know employees at MG Rover and Land Rover in Solihull find reassurance in knowing who is in charge and what direction they are headed in. Unfortunately for Powertrain workers uncertainty will remain hanging over them until a deal can be done. Keeping Powertrain’s engine production facility in Longbridge is important to the West Midlands Manufacturing base. MG Rover has a stake in the local economy and an interest in maintaining the Powertrain plant. We don’t know of the intentions of other prospective purchasers but there’s no way in which I would want to see a situation develop where such technological assets are transferred abroad.

“Since the Longbridge Rover crisis, BMW have had a good story to tell in Britain, investing in the new Mini at a plant in Oxford and in the impressive Hams Hall site in the West Midlands. But it is difficult to draw a line under last year’s events while the Powertrain sale remains in the balance.”

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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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