Statement on the MG Rover situation


The Department of Trade and Industry have released a statement this morning stating that they have been informed by SAIC in Shanghai that they “are not willing to acquire either the whole or parts of the MGR or Powertrain businesses on a going concern basis out of administration, nor are they willing to establish a UK joint venture incorporating the whole or parts of the MGR or Powertrain businesses.” This is devastating news for the workers at MG Rover and Powertrain, their families and those living and working in the wider area whose businesses and livelihoods depend on MG Rover. It is a particular blow for our local community here in Longbridge and the wider Northfield constituency. Clearly, there will be a need for rigorous enquiries to establish exactly how the company got into the situation that precipitated their decision to call in the administrators last week. However, the priority today and in the immediate future must be to put all our energies into securing the best possible outcome for those who will lose their jobs as a consequence of today’s news. We were right to try everything possible to try and encourage Shanghai Automotive to reopen negotiations and government funding made this possible. We have been working for the best outcome possible but we’ve been realistic and have been preparing for the worst. That is why the government set up the Task Force. It has already met and begun to put in place support to ensure that as many of these highly skilled people find alternative employment. We will be meeting again on Monday at 8 a.m.On a personal level, I will continue, as I have done throughout my 13 years as a representative for this area, to work with government (central and local), with the trade unions and with local community organisations to ensure that the support is there when they need it. Back in 2000, when Rover faced closure following BMW’s withdrawal, the message from the West Midlands was “We ain’t going away”. The same message has got to be equally clear today. Whatever the difficulties, and they will be huge, none of us are going away.

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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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