HC Deb 04 May 2000 vol 349 c182W
Mr. Fabricant

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement regarding retraining programmes available to car workers made redundant at Longbridge and its suppliers. [119632]

Mr. Alan Johnson

The Rover Task Force produced an interim report that was presented on 26 April to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who welcomed the proposals.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has pledged £129 million to assist the people and businesses of the west midlands and the report made a number of recommendations about short and medium-term actions that should be taken to regenerate the region. These include a number of initiatives that will tackle employee re-skilling and re-training for workers from Rover and its supplier chain who will be made redundant or whose jobs will be affected. Funding of more than £27 million has been approved to support this work, to help individuals and to aid supplier chain diversification which will include the re-training of up to 4,000 workers.

The report also recommends three new initiatives to support employees which will:

  • extend engineer secondments in the supply chain group through major vehicle companies;
  • create access to an innovative on-line training system for the automotive supply sector;
  • introduce a regional mechanism for the co-ordination of modern apprenticeships and new deal programme participants.