Westminster reacts to Cadbury’s takeover

By Ian Dunt

There were varied reactions from Westminster to today’s sale of Cadbury’s takeover by American firm Kraft, with the prime minister saying he was “determined” the same level of investment was retained in the UK.

Speaking opposite EU president Herman van Rompuy, Mr Brown insisted investment levels in Cadbury’s British operations should be maintained.

“We don’t have full details of completed negotiations,” he said.

“We are determined that the levels of investment that take place in Cadbury are maintained and that jobs in Cadbury’s can be secure.

“We will do everything we can to make sure jobs are available for people in this country,” Mr Brown added.

Meanwhile, Labour MP and former owner of the New Statesman Geoffrey Robinson called on the government to ensure Kraft, the second-largest food and beverage company in the world, did not take a short-term approach to Cadbury.

“It’s time for the government to call the Kraft management in and see exactly what their intentions are,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.

But four Labour MPs expressed a greater degree of concern than that enunciated by Mr Robinson.

In a joint statement on the takeover, Lynne Jones, Richard Burden, Steve McCabe and Gisela Stuart said they were “very concerned” by the takeover.

“We think a takeover by Kraft could pose real dangers for jobs, innovation and the skill base in the West Midlands,” the MPs wrote.

“We worry about the kind of future that Cadbury’s would have as part of this giant multinational whose corporate priorities are decided a long way away from the West Midlands and from those other areas of which Cadbury’s has long been a part.

“We think what has been happening to Cadbury’s also illustrates the vulnerability of UK companies to hostile or predatory takeovers. This is something which both parliament and government needs to address.

The Cadbury’s board accepted the increased bid for the company earlier, valuing the company at £11.5 billion.