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MG Rover

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 29th June 2005.

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Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry Shadow Minister (Higher Education and Intellectual Property), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact of the collapse of MG Rover on Rover dealerships; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Minister of State (Trade), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry

The collapse of MG Rover has had a devastating effect on MG Rover retailers. In response to this a sub-Group of the MG rover task force was set up. The sub-Group is chaired by Digby Jones, director general of the CBI and its membership is drawn from senior industry figures, the key trade associations, and Government officials. The sub-Group's role is to consider the impact of recent events on franchised dealerships and other retailers and service providers in the retail automotive sector. Progress to date includes:

Advantage West Midlands have agreed to extend access to the Advantage Transition Bridge Fund' to franchised dealers. Loans of £50,000 to £500,000 will be available to those facing financial difficulty and having a viable recovery plan but insufficient finance from normal sources to implement it;

HM Revenue and Customs are now applying the same approach to retailers as to suppliers as regards 'time to pay agreements' on VAT and PAYE, including to address the impact of VAT payable on bad debt. This includes pro-active calls to vulnerable retailers to discuss possible assistance;

The Learning and Skills Council are ensuring that apprentices released by MGR retailers will be found alternative placements and funding;

Job Centre Plus has agreed that those made redundant from retailers will be provided with their enhanced rapid response service, as being provided to MGR employees and those of suppliers; and

Business Link has confirmed that they stand ready to provide business planning and other advice to the retail sector via their regional network

The sub-Group continues to meet to monitor the situation and make recommendations to the Secretary of State on appropriate action to address the particular circumstances of the retail sector.

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