TISC PN29 0506



Telephone: 020 7219 5777/5779

PN 29 of Session 2005-06


MG Rover: Further call for evidence and structure of the Committee's inquiry

Publication of written evidence received to date

The Trade and Industry Committee is today announcing how it plans to take forward its inquiry into the role of the Government in the struggle to maintain MG Rover as an independent, UK-owned volume car maker.

The Committee has received very little written evidence on two of the three areas on which it had decided to concentrate (the role of the Government during the disposal of its MG Rover subsidiaries by BMW; and the attempts to support MG Rover during its negotiations with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation in early 2005). However, there has been a satisfactory response to the Committee's call for evidence on the effectiveness to date of the recovery package and taskforce for the Rover workforce and the West Midlands more generally after the company went into receivership.

As a result, and particularly in view of the recently announced closures of Peugeot's plant in Ryton and TVR's factory in Blackpool, the Committee has decided to give early priority in its inquiry to lessons to be learnt from the Rover taskforce.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Peter Luff, MP, said:

"The very serious recent developments in other parts of the car industry, and the possibility of similar future announcements, make it vital that the lessons of Longbridge are properly learnt, and I am confident we have the evidence to do that. We will be arranging oral evidence sessions in Birmingham to take this aspect of our inquiry forward.

"However, given the numerous expressions of interest in our inquiry, I am surprised and frankly disappointed by how few people and organisations have sent written evidence to the Committee on the other aspects of the MG Rover saga. We are still happy to receive Memoranda on the Government's response to MG Rover's difficulties between 2000 and 2005. To help potential respondents frame their evidence to us - which we would like by 5th May - we will publish on the Committee's website all the Memoranda we have received from organisations and from Members of Parliament.

"An additional advantage of this slight delay is that the Public Accounts Committee should either have published, or be very close to publishing, its own report following the National Audit Office investigation. We can then see which issues demand further attention from the Trade and Industry Committee.

"This is an inquiry which has been widely welcomed in the Birmingham area and in the financial media, but at present we do not have the kind of evidence base necessary to enable it to succeed. I hope this extension will change that."

For further information please call the Committee Office on 020 7219 5777/5779.

26 April 2006