Select Committee on Trade and Industry Annxes to the Report

Follow-up Questions


The Committee would be assisted by an updated note on expenditure to date from £12 million fund for suppliers, including its extension to Rover 75 suppliers as noted at OR, 27 July, col 720w; and the £10 million fund for the Employment Services: the extent to which the £25 million RSA for the Marconi Ansty investment, referred to at the response to Rec (n), is to be taken out of the £129 million: and the results of consideration of the Task Force Report in relation to that sum

  Of the £12 million set aside for the Emergency Supply Chain Scheme, £4.9 million has been spent to date, with a total anticipated outturn of £8 million on the two Phases of this scheme.

  Phase 1 of the Supply Chain scheme, which closed at the end of May, provided assistance to 147 suppliers. To date, £4.9 million has been spent on this Phase, with an estimated final outturn of £5.5 million.

  Phase 2 of the Supply Chain Support Scheme commenced in July, to provide assistance for R75 and R25/45 suppliers throughout England, disadvantaged by the need to halt production at Longbridge to transfer the R75 model from Cowley, and reconfigure the R25/45 line. This approach was based on advice from the Rover Task Force, responding to concerns voiced by a wide variety of people, from the industry and business support organisations.

  The deadline for applications under this Phase expired on 31 October. Fifty-eight applications from throughout England have been approved, totalling £2.5 million, which will be paid by the end of this financial year.

  Expenditure on the £10 million fund for the Employment Services is a matter for DfEE, who will be replying to the Committee separately.

  The RSA offer of £25 million for the new Marconi investment at Ansty will all be drawn from the £129 million which, as was stated at the time, would be made available for good quality projects in the West Midlands which provide long term economic regeneration and job creation.

  The Task Force Final Report set out a strategy which focused on five areas, viz Diversifiction of the regional economy, Modernisation of the Automotive Sector, Regeneration and Creation of new opportunities, Support for the Workforce, and Support for Families and Communities. The Report's Action Plan set out a range of projects drawn from these areas, and Task Force sub groups are currently finalising the details of these schemes for the Secretary of State's approval. Demands from a range of projects continue to be made on the £129 million.


A note would be helpful on the outcome of the examination of the BMW/Rover case in the context of information on inward investors and their plans

  The Department, together with British Trade International, operates a single, integrated strategy for maximising its information about inward investors and their plans and aspirations. This has centred on the Inward Investor Development Programme (IIDP), which is co-ordinated by Invest UK—British Trade International's inward investment arm—and draws together the knowledge resources of Sector Directorates in the Department's Business Competitiveness Group (BCG); other Government Departments: Government Offices in the regions; Regional Development Agencies and local sub-regional agencies. Overseas posts also play a key role in the IIDP, of which the priority objectives include:

    —  sustaining long-term relationships with inward investors in order fully to understand what is driving their business;

    —  retaining existing investment;

    —  attracting follow-on investment (supply chain opportunities);

    —  attracting new projects and expansions.

  However the strategy has never been limited to the mechanisms of the IIDP, crucial though these have been. Sector Directorates are in constant contact with key players in the industries which they sponsor, and in addition to making inputs to the IIDP have a lead responsibility to ensure that Ministers receive timely advice on the basis of all the information available. This means that Sector Directorates are also in constant contact with the other partners named above, with a view to identifying as early as possible any incipient problems arising for particular investors.

  The Sector Directorates' role naturally extends to all key companies, whether or not they are inward investors. In the case of the latter the Directorates seek to maintain relationships with global headquarters as well as UK management.

  This overall strategy, though effective, is kept under regular review. The BMW/Rover experience has contributed to our efforts to achieve continuous improvement. Renewed efforts have been made, and continue, to ensure that the IIDP includes all significant investors, and that its workings are understood and adhered to by all partners. In addition, where necessary, additional mechanisms have been established for collating and sharing amongst the relevant parties information about actual or imminent difficulties for particular sectors, companies or plants.

  Of course, far from all factors affecting inward investors can be predicted by Government, and we are to some extent dependent on how far firms are prepared to share their views of future prospects. However through the measures set out above the Department and the Government have enhanced their ability to detect and deal effectively not only with the problems of individual inward investors, but with significant patterns across sectors and industry as a whole.

UK Space Policy, Tenth Report, 1999-2000, HC 335: Government Response, Twelfth Special Report, HC 908

  1.  In November 1999 the Committee decided to undertake an inquiry into a number of aspects of UK space policy, taking the second UK Space Strategy 1999-20: New Frontiers as a starting point. The Report was published in July 2000; the Government's response was received in October 2000.

  2.  The Government response accepted a number of the recommendations, including a review of the budgetary and organisational arrangements for the British National Space Centre (BNSC), the holding of a debate on space policy in Parliament, and the publication of an annual report. It accepted some of the conclusions, including the Committee's reference to the relatively disappointing level of commercial take-up of earth observation data. It continued the dialogue begun in evidence on the case for support for UK participation in launcher technology and on the Galileo project.

  3.  The Committee plans to seek a debate on space in the early part of 2001.

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