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West Midlands – post-MG Rover collapse

The West Midlands is said to be fighting back after the demoralising closure of MG Rover earlier this year.

However, ‘there is still a long way to go and there are still real difficulties to overcome’ according to the Task Force set up to support workers affected by the shutdown.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson MP, was in the area to update the region on how well it is coping following MG Rover’s demise in April this year.

He met members of the MG Rover Task Force to discuss their report 'six months on' which was published today detailing how the impact of MG Rover's closure on the West Midlands economy has been successfully limited.

As a result of interventions, approximately 9,000 jobs (5,850 of which were MG Rover workers) will be lost instead of the 13,000 job losses originally estimated and over 50% of people who have gone through training courses are now back in work.

Alan Johnson said: "The collapse of MG Rover was a severe blow for the workforce, the automotive sector and the community. The Task Force has done a remarkable job in pulling together the work of all the different stakeholders to lessen the impact and provide a way forward.

I want to congratulate and thank them for that.

"The latest figures of 3,300 ex-workers in new jobs and over 1,300 jobs saved in the supply chain show how everybody has pulled together.

"The report sets out how focus must now switch to the longer term issues of regeneration. It makes a number of interesting recommendations to Government. We will look closely at these and respond fully in the New Year."

Nick Paul, chairman of the MG Rover Task Force and Advantage West Midlands said: "What the rest of the UK and Europe has witnessed over the last few months is the West Midlands region fighting back against the effects of the closure of MG Rover and successfully limiting its impact on the regional economy.

"The report is positive on the progress made, but also makes clear that much remains to be done to continue the region's recovery. Most important are the former MG Rover and supply chain workers who are still not back in work.

"The Task Force is pleased with the progress made by the West Midlands region in its response to MG Rover's closure. But there is still a long way to go and there are still real difficulties to overcome. There is funding available to the region for the next three years and the Task Force will use these resources to assist former employees, companies and the local communities."

Alan Johnson also visited two companies in the West Midlands who will be expanding after receiving grants from the Selective Finance for Investment (SFI) in England scheme.

Birmingham-based Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe have been awarded an SFI grant in support of their innovative work in next generation communication networks.

Coventry-based Sandvik have been awarded an SFI grant to update their research and development centre in Coventry that deals with the manufacture of drills.

Johnson said: “I am pleased that the Government grant has been able to secure investment from these two manufacturing companies in the West Midlands. It has been very interesting to hear how they intend to use this financial assistance to take their research and development plans forward."

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