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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Reactions: Rover on a knife-edge
As MG Rover teeters on the brink of closure, there are 6,000 jobs at risk at its Longbridge plant. About 15,000 other jobs could be in jeopardy at West Midlands cars parts suppliers and other support firms.

With a general election campaign getting underway, the political fall-out could be far-reaching too.

INSIDE MG ROVER

MG Rover chief executive John Towers, in Shanghai

"The company is going back to London to work out their next course of action."

MG Rover spokesman William Baldwin-Charles

"We have appointed PwC to look at the state of the company and that may well indeed lead to receivers being called in."

Assembly worker, Donald Davies, aged 61

"I feel upset about it all and think the worry in my life is just going to begin again...I think they we will be telling us we won't be returning back to work."

Steven Tyler, aged 50

"Everybody is worried ... If this place goes, all our skills are in machining and assembling, God knows where we will get another job."

Anthony Glossop, chairman of St Modwen Properties, owner of the Longbridge site

"It is difficult to envisage a scenario in which a buyer can be found" for Rover's car making business.

INDUSTRY GROUPS

Sir Digby Jones, Confederation of British Industry director general

"It would have been wrong for taxpayers' money to have gone into propping up the business when frankly there would have been other car manufacturers who make Britain such a quality place to build cars....Nissan and Honda, look at Toyota, look at Vauxhall, Jaguar, Ford, Peugeot.

"It's not right for government to try and pick winners amongst those."

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce spokesman John Lamb

"There is going to be an awful lot of people on the market needing to be retrained and to get new jobs."

TRADE UNIONS

Tony Woodley, TGWU general secretary

"It's devastating news....we're working with the government to try and salvage as much of car manufacturing at this plant as we possibly can.

"The government still has a major, major role to play here to make sure this isn't a case of an administrator walking in and turning this place into a supermarket in a couple of years."

Tony Murphy, Amicus national officer for the motor industry

"Yet again I'm having to write an obituary for another stalwart of the British engineering and manufacturing industry.

"Longbridge and the whole of the West Midlands are becoming ghost towns."

POLITICAL PARTIES

Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary

The government will do "everything we can....to see what can be done to secure the future of at least some car manufacturing at Longbridge".

"We are making available an immediate support package of 40m for the supply companies to order to give them the time and support that they need to adjust to find new customers...and ensure there is a future for their very capable people as well."

Stephen O'Brien, Conservative shadow trade and industry secretary

"I am very distressed and disturbed for all the people at MG Rover and the workers there, as well as for the wider community in the Longbridge area and across the West Midlands where there's a huge supply chain which is very dependent on supplying MG Rover."

Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat trade and industry spokesman

"The company dissipated the assets that they had....I think the surprising thing, frankly, is that the Chinese took so long to realise the problem.

"What the government now needs to do is see whether there is any other car maker who has an interest in taking over the car making and the engine making assets.....(and) to put in investment to redevelop the site, to redevelop the community, to retrain workers."

BBC CORRESPONDENTS

Jeff Randall, BBC Business Editor

"I think Rover has played a game of bluff and counterbluff and it's lost. It simply ran out of cash and once you run out of cash you run out of credibility with the suppliers and with people who might help you and with the government.

"Whichever way you look at it, it's bleak....I think those 6,000 jobs are in grave danger."

Andrew Marr, BBC Political Editor

"It will have a big impact on the (election) campaign....the Conservatives and the other political parties are starting to say the condition of Britain's manufacturing is a big issue."





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