Future of Rover — 16 Mar 2000
I beg to move,
That this House calls upon the Government to report to the House the terms under which they brokered a rescue package for BMW/Rover in June 1999; further calls upon the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to confirm that the application for Regional Selective Assistance will be sanctioned as a matter of urgency and that he will respond to the Competition Commission Report on Car Pricing as a priority; regrets that the future of Rover has been undermined by recent announcements by BMW; and urges the Government to clarify its future strategy in respect of Rover.
I was not prepared to deal with this in the traditional way by simply making a substantial payment to BMW. Instead, I wanted the Longbridge agreement to be one which heralded a new approach to Government assistance to industry, which reflected a long-term commitment and not a quick fix. That is why I sought guarantees on productivity targets, raising skills and substantial investment from the company itself. Guarantees have been given in all these key areas.
I am in no doubt that without the offer of support, BMW would have taken its investment elsewhere. It needed to go ahead with the investment for strategic reasons, but it did not need to come to the UK. The prime consideration for BMW was the impact of the
additional investment on the company's overall financial position.--[ Official Report, Westminster Hall , 26 January 2000; Vol. 343, c. 89WH.]
You may be assured that I and my officials will be maintaining close contact with DGD4, and we will be seeking every opportunity to press for an early and successful outcome to the case.
I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:
welcomes the actions of the Government that support the car industry, including delivering stable inflation and low interest rates, boosting support for supply chain activities and acting on the Foresight Vehicle Programme; welcomes the Government support for the Longbridge plant given through the offer of Regional Selective Assistance; understands that the major losses that BMW have suffered on Rover have put great pressure on BMW with respect to Rover; and congratulates the Government for playing its role in working closely with the company and the workforce to try to ensure there is a future for Rover.
This is great news for Longbridge, the West Midlands and the country as a whole. The future is an exciting one and I look forward to Longbridge taking on its competitors, winning and becoming a world leader.
it could be a huge disaster for the region, particularly if it goes to a buyer from outside the automotive industry.
ESP, Goldsmiths plc, Instem plc, Paramount Hotels, Ushers of Trowbridge plc.
Our decision to build the new semi-conductor plant here in the UK is a recognition of the pro-business environment which exists?
Great Britain is currently the most attractive country among all European locations for producing cars?
We should credit BMW for investing in the Rover group when it took over the company. At the time, it was widely speculated that BMW was interested only in Land Rover and having a four-wheel-drive product in their vehicle range, and that it might not show the same commitment to the Rover car itself. It is hard to pin that accusation on BMW.--[ Official Report, Westminster Hall , 26 January 2000; Vol. 343, c. 70WH.]
Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--
The House divided: Ayes 149, Noes 275.
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