§ Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost of the Rover Task Force Modernisation and Diversification programme has been to the Small Business Service in each of the last five years. 1688W
§ Ms Hewitt
The Rover Task Force was established early in 2000, led by the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, the right hon. Member for North Tyneside (Mr. Byers). The Task Force considered how both the region's automotive supply chain could be supported, and how the region's manufacturing base could be helped to modernise and diversify.
A package of funding for business support and regeneration of £129 million was agreed. £31 million of that figure was administered by the SBS as part of the Modernisation and diversification programme. The funding package of the Rover Task Group is invested in the automotive supply chain. No funding is provided direct to MG Rover itself.
To date a total of 1,600 businesses have been assisted by the Taskforce and 3,000 jobs have been safeguarded or created.