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BBC WM Cadbury debate - Bournville residents speak out
Cadbury - The Debate
Rowheath Pavilion was standing room only at the BBC WM Cadbury debate

Bournville residents voiced their concerns on job security and the future of their community in a BBC WM public forum debate on Tuesday, 26 January.

Hosted by BBC WM's Phil Upton, over 150 people filled Rowheath Pavilion.

Residents and Cadbury workers put their questions to a panel of high-profile guests including Lord Digby Jones and Professor Carl Chinn.

The highly emotional debate was a mix of tearful concerns and outbursts of anger.

End of the line

The Cadbury debate question panel
A panel of high-profile guests addressed the concerns of Bournville

On a wider scale the debate also addressed the future of manufacturing in the West Midlands and how we protect and treasure iconic companies in light of what's happened to Rover, HP, LDV and what people fear may happen to Cadbury.

Lord Digby Jones and local historian Professor Carl Chinn opened the evening with their own personal reflections setting the tone for the debate.

Cocoa in our veins

The floor was then opened up to the local residents, many of whom come from generations of Cadbury workers and a long history of living in Bournville.

Many were upset over the lack of reassurance from the government and from Kraft.

Listen to highlights from the debate:

Cadbury - The Debate: Part 1

Cadbury - The debate

Lord Digby Jones: "Cadbury stands for something more than just making money or making chocolate; it stands for what I have always believed capitalism should be.

"In the early days I don't think Cadbury employees have got anything to worry about. The answer is to create an environment where Kraft think 'God, Bournville's fabulous'."

Bournville resident, Elizabeth Edwards: "What about the workers and the community that's been here for years and years working together as a whole community? The vision of George Cadbury is going to be destroyed."

Cadbury - The Debate: Part 2

Cadbury - The debate

Bournville resident: "If a few of the Cadbury family members had stayed on the board would it have made any difference to this situation?"

Professor Carl Chinn: "I believe strongly that if there was a Sir Adrian or Sir Dominic still on the board this would not have happened, but the problem is once you become a PLC of course then money talks. Yes we understand we live in a global economy, but there has to be social responsibility."

Cadbury - The Debate: Part 3

BBC WM Cadbury debate

Bournville resident, Malcolm Martin: "We want to know what's happening on the estate, people are concerned about the future of the village?"

Peter Roach, Chief executive - Bournville Village Trust: "Back in 1900 Bournville Village Trust was set up independently from the the factory, so I've got no doubt whatever the future of the factory Bournville as a village will carry on, you are safe in our hands, I don't see the village going anywhere."

Cadbury - The Debate: Part 4

Cadbury - The debate

Rev Paul Clarke, The Pavilion Christian Community: "If you want to make things work you get passionate people behind something and you make changes. We are responsible for our futures, the people of Bournville are responsible for the future of the village.

"I think we need to get together and we need to influence Kraft and we need to keep ourselves motivated and focused.

"We are not a bunch of losers in the Midlands, we are winners and we have to behave like winners and not be defeated."

Cadbury - The Debate panel guests

Question panel guests: Digby, Lord Jones or Birmingham, Jerry Blackett (Chief Executive, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce & Industry), Professor Carl Chinn (MBE) - Professor of Birmingham Community History, Unite the Union Regional Industrial Officer Joe Clarke and Rev Paul Clarke, Pastor of the Pavilion Christian Community.

Front row guests included: Cllr Nigel Dawkins, Cllr Dave Radcliffe, Cllr Mike Leddy, Bill Rice (Charmain, Bournville Village Council) Business Professor, David Bailey and Peter Roach (Chief Executive of Bournville Village Trust).


Also see more local reaction from the debate on the Bournville Village blog.

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