Mandelson ‘disappointed’ at delay to MG Rover inquiry

By Liz Stephens and Alex Stevenson

Business secretary Lord Mandleson today expressed his displeasure at the length of time taken by the MG Rover inquiry.

Speaking to the Business and Enterprise Committee, Lord Mandelson said: “Once you embark on an inquiry of this sort you have no alternative but to let it take its course. However I am disappointed it has taken so long and cost so much.”

The probe into MG Rover has taken four years and was conducted at a cost of over £15 million.

Describing his sympathy for the inquiry as “limited”, Lord Mandelson said: “Where we can give some guidance in future cases we will.”

This follows the announcement yesterday that the business secretary had referred the case to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The government’s refusal to publish the report by independent investigators into the demise of carmaker MG Rover prompted anger from unions and politicians yesterday.

MGRG, the manufacturer of MG and Rover cars, went into administration in April 2005. Its demise was viewed as a major setback for British car manufacturing and resulted in the loss of 6,000 jobs.

Yesterday the government released statistics showing its car scrappage scheme had had a positive effect on new car registrations, slowing their monthly fall to levels not seen since last summer.