A sad end to the saga of the MG Rover trust fund


Last week saw an end to the long and sad saga of the MG Rover trust fund.

It is now more than seven and a half years since the Phoenix Four made their promise to set up a trust fund for former MG Rover workers, when the company closed in 2005.

After seven and a half years of waiting, the money – initially anticipated to be in the millions – has never appeared.

The trustees met last week to formally decide that the relatively small sum of £20,000, which was initially put into the fund, should be donated to the Midlands based children’s charity Acorns.

Acorns is, without doubt, a very worthy cause. The charity offers vital support for life limited and life threatened children, and their families, including from their hospice in Selly Oak.

And given that there was little hope left that the trust fund would ever receive the money it was promised, it was probably a realistic decision by the trustees.

It will hopefully help to draw a line for the former workers and their families – but it is not the ending many hoped for. And it is certainly not the ending that the former workers deserve. They did everything that was asked of them by the Phoenix Four and ended up losing everything.

It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

The real issue remains – why did the trust fund never have any money? That is not the fault of the trustees, but of the Phoenix Four. They came up with reasons, delays and excuses. They ignored requests that they should personally put £1 million each into the trust fund, having managed to do very well out of the company financially themselves.

Ultimately it was the Phoenix Four who made the promise to their former workers – it was a promise they failed to keep.

  • Read more about the MG Rover trust fund online here
  • This article was also published in today’s Bromsgrove Standard. You can read the newspaper online here

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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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