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Cash for training 'ran out' ROVER: 'Fine words' offered ex-workers.

Byline: By Jonathan Walker

ROVER workers have been offered "fine words" but not enough help to get new jobs and training, a House of Commons committee has heard.

Derek Simpson, general secretary of trade union Amicus, said many were offered training after the closure of the Longbridge plant, but had to stop before it was completed as funding ran out.

Giving evidence to the trade and industry select committee, he accused the Government of allowing factories like Peugeot in Coventry to close even though it was profitable.

He said ministers must ditch their "let the market decide" approach to save British manufacturing.

Mr Simpson said: "Standing on a hill watching Rome burn is effectively what we are doing."

The select committee, chaired by Worcestershire MP Peter Luff (Con, mid Worcestershire), is conducting an investigation into the state of the British car industry.

It will focus on the closure of Rover, Peugeot's Ryton plant and TVRs factory in Blackpool.

Mr Simpson said: "Very often there is a difference between what is said and what actually happens. It is often underfunded.

"There are a lot of nice words but the impact on the people supposed to benefit from that in terms of jobs and training, there is a big difference. Many of those supplied with training are unable to complete it as the support runs out."

He said British workers were "easier and cheaper to sack" than staff overseas. This meant manufacturing could not survive if the Government left everything up to the markets.

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FUNDING ROW... Derek Simpson (inset) claims there has not been enough help for former Rover workers in terms of securing new jobs and training.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:May 24, 2006
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