Press Comment : MGR inquiry completed but publication may be delayed
Jonathan Walker, Political Editor, Birmingham Post, 26th June, 2009
The inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover has completed its work – but we may still have to wait to discover what it says.
My colleagues on the business desk are working on a story reporting that the inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover has been completed, at a cost of almost £16 million, four years after it began.
The collapse of the Birmingham carmaker in 2005 directly cost around 5200 jobs according to the National Audit Office, which measured the number of former MG Rover staff who signed on for Jobseekers Allowance. Their 2006 report (a 1.38mb PDF download) is here.
The Government has revealed that a new report setting out the findings of an official inquiry into MG Rover is now in the hands of Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, in a Parliamentary written answer to Richard Burden (Lab), the Northfield MP who has been increasingly vocal in demanding its publication.
Business Minister Ian Lucas said in the written answer: “The inspectors delivered their report on 11 June 2009. It will be for my noble Friend the Secretary of State to consider its findings and next steps.”
The steps Lord Mandelson will take obviously depend on what the report says.
The Government has revealed that a new report setting out the findings of an official inquiry into MG Rover is now in the hands of Lord Mandelson
I say there could be a delay before it is published because the report’s findings will determine whether any further action is needed. If it is needed, then the publication of the report could be considered prejudicial to that action.
The inquiry was ordered by the Business Secretary (at that time, Alan Johnson) under section 432(2) of the Companies Act 1985.
The Act states that the Secretary of State may appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of a company “if it appears to him that there are circumstances suggesting–
“(a) that the company’s affairs are being or have been conducted with intent to defraud its creditors or the creditors of any other person, or otherwise for a fraudulent or unlawful purpose, or in a manner which is unfairly prejudicial to some part of its members, or
“(b) that any actual or proposed act or omission of the company (including an act or omission on its behalf) is or would be so prejudicial, or that the company was formed for any fraudulent or unlawful purpose, or
“(c) that persons concerned with the company’s formation or the management of its affairs have in connection therewith been guilty of fraud, misfeasance or other misconduct towards it or towards its members, or
“(d) that the company’s members have not been given all the information with respect to its affairs which they might reasonably expect.”
The inspectors – led in this case by Gervase MacGregor, of Accountants BDO Stoy Hayward, and barrister Guy Newey QC – will have considered whether any such circumstances exist, and presented their findings to Lord Mandelson, who now has to decide what to do next.
[Source: Birmingham Post.net]