Title: The MG Rover closure and policy response: an evaluation of the Task Force model in the UK

Authors: Gill Bentley, David Bailey, Alex De Ruyter

Addresses: Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. ' Coventry University Business School, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK. ' University of the West of Scotland Business School, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, PA1 2BE, Scotland, UK

Abstract: In recent years there have been a number of high-profile plant closures in the UK. In several cases, the policy response has included setting up a task force to deal with the impacts of the closure. It can be hypothesised that task force involving multi-level working across territorial boundaries and tiers of government is crucial to devising a policy response tailored to people|s needs and to ensuring success in dealing with the immediate impacts of a closure. This suggests that leadership, and vision, partnership working and community engagement, and delivery of high quality services are important. This paper looks at the case of the MG Rover closure in 2005, to examine the extent to which the policy response to the closure at the national, regional and local levels dealt effectively with the immediate impacts of the closure, and the lessons that can be learned from the experience. Such lessons are of particular relevance given the closure of the LDV van plant in Birmingham in 2009 and more broadly – such as in the case of the downsizing of the Opel operation in Europe following its takeover by Magna.

Keywords: plant closures; retrenchment; automotive manufacturing; automobile industry; job losses; redundancy; policy response; Task Force; governance; MG Rover; UK; United Kingdom; vehicle manufacturing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2010.032626

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2010 Vol.10 No.2/3, pp.236 - 251

Published online: 09 Apr 2010 *

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