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West Midlands tackles its 'biggest regeneration site'...
West Midlands tackles its 'biggest regeneration site'

By Mark Smulian

West Midlands officers have been in Brussels seeking European funds to help thousands of local residents hit by the MG Rover collapse.

The car manufacturing plant is split between Birmingham City Council and Bromsgrove DC, and these councils have borne the brunt of support work. MG Rover employed 6,500 people, but the West Midlands Local Government Association said a further 22,000 jobs in the Black Country alone depended on the motor industry.

Councils in the region hope they will get extra money from Europe, or receive permission to divert other funds towards work to relieve the economic problems caused by Rover's collapse.

However, Birmingham City Council director of planning and regeneration Clive Dutton said: 'The European Commission will want assurances there will be long-term benefits.

He added: 'The impact of the MG Rover collapse has been to wipe out 15% of Birmingham's manufacturing capacity.

'Our priority is to seek high-value job creation.

'I am working on MG Rover related things 100% until further notice.'

Councils have been involved in a number of areas including social services' family support, economic development work, and action by trading standards teams to prevent unscrupulous dealers from reneging on Rover warranties.

Birmingham has organised a careers day to highlight public sector job opportunities. The 400-acre MG Rover plant is now 'the biggest regeneration site in the Midlands', Mr Dutton said.

Bromsgrove economic development officer Peter Michael has appealed to employers to recruit locally.

Midlands rallies in support

What is being done? At least 12 councils are dealing with the fallout from the Rover collapse. Their activities include:

Birmingham City Council Encouraging Rover staff to apply for council jobs, advice hotline, counsellors on standby.

Dudley MBC Family support via social services, working with local businesses.

Warwickshire CC Grants to help businesses adjust to Rover's demise.

Bromsgrove DC Co-ordinating offers of local work.

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