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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2005, 17:23 GMT
Rover 'has cost taxpayer 231m'
The Longbridge plant in Birmingham
Almost 6,000 jobs were lost at the Longbridge plant
The collapse of the Rover car company in Birmingham is estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than 231m so far, the government has said.

About 50m has been made available to retrain workers, and 6.5m was spent on keeping the company going for a week in April while a buyer was sought.

Rover collapsed in April with debts of 1.4bn and the loss of 6,000 jobs.

Trade and industry minister Ian Pearson, MP for Dudley South, said: "It is very much money well spent."

Rumours 'wrong'

The Black Country Labour MP added: "We've had money paying for compensation for those who've lost their jobs, money to help with retraining and money to help the supply chain.

"You've got to remember that people were predicting meltdown in the West Midlands as a result of the collapse of Rover.

"What we've seen has been a tragedy for those who've lost their jobs.

"But now over half are in work. Three thousand are booked onto training courses. Two thousand have taken up and started training courses.

"Rumours about the supply chain being in meltdown have proved (to be) completely wrong."

He added: "231m is the money allocated (but) it hasn't all been spent. Some is due to be spent over three years and some is for wider projects in the supply chain.

"But the key thing is we're helping people back into work."

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