New MG6 rolls off production line at Longbridge


Today I was in Longbridge to watch the first new MG6 roll off the production line. This is a real milestone for Longbridge and for the automotive industry in the West Midlands.

Longbridge has been through dark days. Nobody around here will forget how it felt, six years ago this week, when the MG Rover plant closed its doors for the last time and over 6,000 people lost their jobs.

Nothing will bring back the days when thousands were employed on Longbridge production lines. But the greatest tribute we can pay to the heritage that made the name ‘Longbridge’ synonymous with motor manufacturing throughout the 20th Century is to build a future in the 21st Century.

Today is about that future. Hundreds of millions of pounds have been invested in the new MG Motor company. The new MG6 that rolls off the production line this week has been designed here in Longbridge. MG have 300 people working in a state of the art technical centre here with global reach. Birmingham can build on that.

The UK is a world leader in performance engineering. The Longbridge area can have a real role, both in automotive and in technologies allied to it, if we make the most of the opportunities that are there.

Longbridge is a huge site and we need to make sure that the redevelopment which is taking place beyond the MG factory itself adds real value to the potential which this area has for the future.

Government action in recent years, in partnership with the private sector – notably the developers, St Modwen – has enabled an Innovation Centre to be built on site to help forward-looking businesses to take off. A new college will also open here later in the year to help young people gain the skills they need for the future. A new town centre is planned to provide a local heart for the reborn Longbridge.

But we need the Coalition Government to maintain and extend the engagement shown by the Labour Government before them. That requires continued investment in the human capital and long term infrastructure of this area to create the jobs and opportunities which local people deserve.

This Saturday, former MG Rover employees, MG Rover and Austin enthusiasts, community groups and the new MG car company will come together in Cofton Park opposite the MG factory to celebrate our ‘Pride in Longbridge’.

The birth of the MG6 today is part of that pride.

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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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