Work Foundation calls for more cash to retrain Rover workers

The government has been urged to increase the funds being made available to help retrain 5,000 staff made redundant at MG Rover.

Ministers have pledged £150m for former staff at the Birmingham plant and its suppliers, but the Work Foundation said more money was needed for retraining.

The industry research group said funds for retraining currently came to as little as £5,000 per worker. It also warned most MG Rover workers would have to travel to find new work.

The Work Foundation has published a report, Sent To Coventry? The Re-employment of the Longbridge 5,000.

With long-term unemployment in the Longbridge area at more than 16%, and at more than 24% in Birmingham as a whole – compared with the national average of 13.9% – the report said retraining was vital to help the former MG Rover workers back into employment.

“The lessons from elsewhere tell us that retraining has to be of a specific type, both technical and vocational, as there are very few economic returns to other, less advanced forms of work-based training,” it said.

Professor Marc Cowling, who helped write the report, said MG Rover workers should also have their car loans underwritten so they can more easily travel outside their immediate area to find replacement work.

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