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Government loan could help Rover

About 6,000 are employed at Rover in Longbridge, Birmingham

The government is offering a bridging loan to help MG Rover secure a deal with its Chinese partner and safeguard thousands of jobs in the West Midlands.

UK trade officials are in talks with the state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC) which could invest up to £1bn in MG Rover.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would not say how much the government was prepared to offer.

Unions at the Longbridge plant in Birmingham welcomed the news.

The TGWU said the development would help the car manufacturer stay in business until the Chinese deal was completed.

Key battleground

Chancellor Gordon Brown has already vowed to do everything possible to secure a tie-up between MG Rover and SAIC, which unions believe is the only way Rover's future will be secured.

Under the proposed venture, the Chinese company would inject cash into Rover to help it develop new models and in return SAIC would secure ownership rights to Rover's more advanced technology.

A DTI spokeswoman said: "Throughout this process the government has done all it can to help support the joint venture between MG Rover and SAIC.

"A team of DTI officials is in China this weekend holding discussions with SAIC. We are also in touch with the Chinese government.

"If it appears that a commercial deal will be agreed both MG Rover and SAIC are aware that the government would consider the option of providing a bridging loan facility to that deal. No formal decision has been made."

The government was also considering a package of support and financial assistance for the workers, their families and local communities if the deal does not go ahead, the department added.

'Right move'

Tony Woodley, general secretary of the TGWU, said he welcomed the DTI comments.

"This is the right move for MG Rover, for the Midlands and for manufacturing industry as a whole," he said.

"It will help keep MG Rover in business until the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed on the deal with Shanghai Automotive." MG Rover employs about 6,000 workers at Longbridge but thousands more rely on the company for their jobs, working in local service industries in the West Midlands. The company was bought for £10 from German car maker BMW in 2000 by a consortium of West Midlands businessmen led by John Towers.
 

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Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to know that BBC Radio 5 live and BBC News 24 are reporting this story this morning as 'Government officials have gone to China in a bid to save MG-Rover, the ailing British carmaker, blah, blah, blah...Chinese car maker having second thoughts...promising them a £100m loan...only future for company...blah, blah, blah'.

Am now off to the BBC news website to vent my disgust
 

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OK, have now vented my disgust at BBC broadcast journalism and have asked them why they are spinning the story differently to their website article.

I wrote a lengthy diatribe against their reporting over the last five years only to find that they don't accept complaints of longer than 1800 characters! This they do not tell you in advance, only when you submit the complaint. So, if you have a complaint, better make it a brief one!

Asked them if they will start reporting every car firm who has a fall in sales in any given month, to get a grip on their journalists who don't know the difference between a JV and a takeover, and if they will report the true story of MG-Rover, namely that they still exist and stand on the brink of a potentially historic deal that will secure the long term future of the company and make it a serious player in the car design industry.
 
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