Welcome to the Justice for Rover Workers website
5th February 2013
Last week I was delighted to be able to visit the Acorns Children’s Hospice in Selly Oak, Birmingham. This was following the donation of £23,352.10 by the ex MG Rover workers via the employee trust fund. The Acorns have prepared an article containing not only a very big thank-you, but also some information about the Acorns, the incredible work that they do and some information about how important the money will be to them. To read this article, please click on the tab on the left: A message from the Acrons. Here is the link to the Birmingham Evening Mail's write up of the event:
19th December 2012
It is confirmed now that a cheque for £23,352.10 has received by the Acorns. There will be a formal presentation in the new year. Kind thanks to everyone who has made this happen, wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a great 2013.
14th November 2012
Breaking news of the decision to award the money in the trust fund to the Acorns charity:
10th September 2012
We continue to welcome all comments and suggestions regarding what to do with the Trust Fund money. The tab on the left hand side called ''Ex workers comments ref. trust fund money'' shows all of the feedback so far.
9th August 2012
As reported in today's Birmingham Post, it has now been confirmed that the MG Rover Trust Fund is to be wound up, with no money made available for the ex-workers: http://www.birminghampost.net/news/2012/08/09/mg-rover-trust-fund-finally-to-be-wound-up-without-workers-receiving-a-penny-65233-31578855/
It is a sad end to a long saga. At the time of closure 6,500 workers lost their jobs with no company redundancy pay.
In this BBC interview John Towers CBE discusses the Trust Fund at the time of the MG Rover collapse in 2005 (it's approximately 3 minutes 40 seconds into the clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG78PtEaqQ)
For those who don't want to watch the video the interview is as follows.... question: ‘‘‘..they’re (the ex-workers) walking away with nothing, you're walking away with a fortune?'', answer: ''We're trying to place a fortune into a benefit for all of the employees and their families and dependants. We've launched today an employee trust which Carl Chinn, Nigel Petrie and the Bishop from Birmingham have agreed to be trustees for. That's got gross assets in excess of £50million. Cleary there are creditors, all though only a few, and also perhaps people from MG Rover Groups creditors who will try to attack that, those assets, but I am very confident that there will be millions of pounds available for those employees to help them with that difficult period. ''
After buying MG Rover from BMW for £10 in 2000, the ''Phoenix Four plus One'' as they're known, went on to make over £42million in remuneration, despite continued concerns from the then Department of Trade and Industry. This remuneration was highly criticised in the £16million Government Enquiry published 2009, where the only trust fund mentioned was their own offshore one in Guernsey to which they would transfer over £10million for their own pensions.
Now, 7 years after closure, it is confirmed by Phoenix that:
(i) all of the legal avenues perused by Phoenix have not be fruitful and basically, there is no money left from the assets for the trust fund.
(ii) the ex Phoenix directors have refused the request to make a personal donation from their fortunes to the trust fund, despite hundreds of people supporting this campaign for them to do so and public calls from the likes of Carl Chinn and Richard Burden MP.
(iii) The ex-directors stand to profit even further, sharing the bounty that is held in MG Rover Capital (yet to be wound up) which is holding up-to £20million in cash. (Should this money be available them, the request was made by Carl/Eric and myself to transfer this money ‘fresh money’ to the trust fund, the Phoenix directors this refused too).
Upon the creation of the Trust Fund in 2005 approximately £23,000 was allocated for the future administration costs of the distribution of the promised millions. It is now to be decided what to do with this money.
For the social networkers among us, there is an online facebook group (search for Justice for Rover Workers) and here some ex workers expressed an interest for the money to go to a local charity. Carl and Eric and I would welcome all suggestions, please feel free to join the facebook group and add to the ongoing debate, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts. I will publish all in the comments and questions tab and pass them all on to Carl/Eric.
9th August 2012
As reported in today's Birmingham Post, it has now been confirmed that the MG Rover Trust Fund is to be wound up.
It is a sad end to a long saga. In this BBC interview John Towers CBE discusses the trust fund at the time of the MG Rover collapse in 2005 (it's approximately 3 minutes 40 seconds into the clip - sorry, only one I could find..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG78PtEaqQ) For those who don't want to watch the video.... Question: '''They're (the ex-workers) walking away with nothing, you're walking away with a fortune?'', Answer: ''We're trying to place a fortune into the benifit of all of the employees and their families and dependants. We've launch today an employee trust which Carl Chinn, Nigel Petrie and the Bishop from Birmingham have agreed to be trustees for. That's got gross assets in execess of £50million. Cleary there are creditors, all though only a few, and also perhaps people from MG Rover Groups creditors who will try to attack that, those assests, but I am very confident that there will be millions of pounds available for those employees to help them with that difficult period. ''
After buying MG Rover from BMW for £10 in 2000, the ''Phoenix Four plus One'' as they're known, went on to make over £42million for themselves. Today, 7 years after closure, it is confirmed that (i) all of the legal avenues persued by Phoenix have not be fruitful and basically, there is no money left from the assets for the trust fund. (ii) the ''Phoenix Four plus One'' have refused the request to make a personal donation from their fortunes to live up to their word, despite hundreds of people supporting this campaign along with public figures such as Carl Chinn, the Arch Bishop of York John Sentamu and numerous local MPs notably Richard Burden & John Hemming.
Upon the creation of the Trust Fund in 2005 approximatley £23,000 was allocated to it for the future administraion costs of the distrubition of the promised millions. It is now to be decided what to do with this money. There is an online facebook group (search for Justice for Rover Workers) and here some ex workers expressed an interest for the money to go to a local charity. Carl Chinn and Eric McDonald, 2 trustees of the Trust Fund along with myslef would welcome all suggestions, please feel free to join the facebook group and add to the ongoing debate, or send an email to email@example.com. I will publish all in the comments and questions tab and pass them all on to Carl/Eric.
6th August 2012
Reports this week that Deloitte will face a tribunal over all allegations about its work in the run up to MG Rover's demise.
8th July 2012
At the last meeting to discuss the MG Rover Trust fund (discussed in the previous update but in attendance from Phoenix Venture Holdings were Nigel Petrie/Peter Dillon, Trust Fund Trustees Carl Chinn/Eric McDonald and myself from JFRW) the action upon Nigel and Peter was to ask, for one final time, the ex MG Rover directors to place a substantial contribution into the Trust Fund.
We are still awaiting feedback on this request however feedback has been promised shortly.
Any updates on this situation will be posted here.
3rd May 2012
Since the meeting on Monday there has been widespread media coverage covering the MG Rover trust fund story. Below is a summary of the national/local pieces:
We continue to await a response from Phoenix Venture Holdings representatives to our request that a substantial personal donation be made to the trust fund as soon as possible. This is since they confirmed that they have exhausted all avenues to provide money to the trust, 7 years after the closure of MG Rover when they made a public promise pledging assets of up to £50 million for an employee trust fund. The Phoenix Venture Holdings directors purchased MG Rover for £10 in 2000, by 2005 they had personally profited an estimated £42 million. Potentially they can yet profit further, over £10 million before the end of the year. However, all that lies in the trust fund is £23k, originally set aside for administration costs. If this fund is to close as they have suggested, then this works out at around £3 per ex worker.
30th April 2012
Today on behalf of the Justice for Rover Workers group I attended a meeting with Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon (representing Phoenix Venture Holdings) and trust fund trustees Prof. Dr. Carl Chinn and Eric McDonald. The other trustee, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, was unable to attend.
At the meeting an update was provided on the recent legal proceedings from Phoenix Venture Holdings against Price Waterhouse Coopers. This was an attempt to reclaim monies taken from the Phoenix Venture Holdings accounts which had been earmarked for the ex-employee trust fund. The sum of over £12 million was taken from the accounts by HBOS unfairly in the view of Phoenix Venture Holdings.
I’ve attended numerous meetings with Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon over the course of the last two years and it has been made very clear that any attempts to secure money for the trust fund were dependant on a successful outcome of this case. Sadly, as reported today, their legal claims reached the high courts last month and were unsuccessful.
Both the Archbishop Dr Sentamu and Phoenix Venture Holdings representatives have contacted the Lloyds Banking Group (the parent group of HBOS) in an attempt to recoup the money on moral grounds. These pleas were rejected.
Therefore, as presented at today's meeting Phoenix Venture Holdings claim that all avenues to secure funds for the trust fund have been exhausted. Closure of the trust fund was therefore discussed.
At this point Carl Chinn, Eric Mcdonald and I made one final last request to the Phoenix 5 via Nigel/Peter for them to make a substantial sum from their collective £42 million MG Rover remuneration, available for the trust fund. However, such calls have already been made continuously by Carl Chinn in the press and also by myself at the face-to-face meetings, all of which have been flatly rejected.
The situation regarding MG Rover Capital was also discussed. Prior to the meeting I recently contacted the Pensions Regulator and also the acting liquidator to understand the situation regarding the remaining money on the accounts. This sum is approximately £23 million in cash. The pensions regulator has until the end of December 2012 to make a claim. Should it not do so, the money will be split between its directors; HBOS 51% and the nominated Phoenix Venture Holdings directors 49%. It was again made clear today, that should the situation arise that this money isn’t claimed by the pensions regulator, nothing would be transferred to the fund meaning that the ex-directors would stand in line for a further £12 million cash bonus. As MG Rover Capital is not part of the Phoenix Venture Holdings umbrella, it is deemed non-applicable for the trust fund.
It is with great sadness then, that hopes for the trust fund now lie with the rallying call from Carl, Eric and myself to the Phoenix 5 to show some morality to the ex workers and make a significant contribution to the trust fund. Should this be unsuccessful, plans for the £23k currently on the accounts of the trust fund (set aside for the administration costs to deal with the pay-out we had hoped for) have to be concluded by the trustees and the trust fund will close – over 6 years since John Towers made a promise to pledge up to £50million into the trust fund to be split among the unfortunate 6,500 workers. Here is a video clip showing a BBC
interview with John Towers, shortly after closure where he discusses the pledge to the trust fund (it's approximately 3 minutes 40 seconds into the clip)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG78PtEaqQ
We await the feedback of our request and will publish onto this website any news at it happens.
22nd February 2012
So, as described in the 6th December update, the story continues. Next week, lawyers acting on behalf of Phoenix Venture Holdings will have their case heard in the Chancery Division of the High Courts. They're requesting the release of information that they believe will aid their attempts to recoup money from Lloyds. The Birmingham Post tonight covers the story: http://www.birminghampost.net/birmingham-business/birmingham-business-news/businesslatest/2012/02/22/mg-rover-longbridge-cash-battle-reaches-court-65233-30383149/
8th January 2012
A petition has been started by Mark Anthony France seeking the creation of a museum on the Longbridge site to remember the history of the factory. To sign the petition, please follow this link. http://haveyoursay.whub.org.uk/whub/KMS/Epetitions.aspx?strTab=EPetitions&PageContext=EPetition&PageType=item&DMartId=165
4th January 2012
Here is a link to the story published in todays Birmingham Post in reference to the latest situation regarding the attempts to recoup money from HBOS bank for the trust fund:
8th December 2011
Local historian and BBC presenter Prof. Dr. Carl Chinn today got in touch expressing his full support once again for the Justice for Rover Workers (JFRW) campaign. He spoke of his serious concerns for the outcome of the trust, 6 years after being asked in good faith to be a trust fund trustee, along with the Archbishop of York (at the time, Birmingham) Dr. John Sentamu (and trade union representative Eric McDonald).
Carl and I have spoken regularly from the very start of the JFRW campaign. He believes the PVH (ex) directors should put their own money into the trust fund immediately in lieu of any extra money, to help those most affected by the closure. He spoke today of his heightened concern for the ex workers since the economic crash and expressed his genuine sadness that over 6 years since the closure the ex workers are still left out of pocket and with a very large unfulfilled promise.
6th December 2011
Are we going to get any money from the trust fund?
I've continued working in recent weeks on the trust fund but the slight interruption in updates was to allow a few points to be verified first. This time last year and still today there remains a lot of confusion around where certain matters lie and what follows is a snap shot of current events.
In the last 12 months I've spoken with Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon on behalf of the JFRW campaign on a number of occasions. I've attempted to ask as many of the questions raised via the website and through personal emails as possible. (N.B. Nigel Petrie is the leading director of Phoenix Board – MG Rovers parent group – since the ‘Phoenix 4’ resigned in April http://www.birminghampost.net/birmingham-business/birmingham-business-news/automotive-business/2011/04/18/phoenix-four-quit-as-directors-of-phoenix-venture-holdings-65233-28539457)
The trust fund for the ex-workers remains empty, six years and seven months after they were promised up to £50million from John
Towers (see approximately 3 mins 40 secs into this BBC interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG78PtEaqQ)
It is often suggested in the public domain and media commentary that John
Towers and his fellow Phoenix Directors bought the company for £10 in 2000. However, during their tenure the Phoenix Directors accumulated some £42million in remuneration. The closure in 2005 remains the largest mass site redundancy in the UK for over 25 years. Upon closure many workers were paid half their month’s salary, had no company redundancy pay and had to wait weeks to receive state benefit. Figures produced by Professor David Bailey, Birmingham
School (2008), showed the average worker suffered a significant post-closure wage drop of £5,640, based on research figures pre-dating the global economic downturn. Although around a third remained within the manufacturing sector on a comparative wage, around two thirds who transferred into the service sector saw their wages drop (see: http://www.theworkfoundation.com/Assets/Docs/A3%20fold%20flier%20-%20LOW%20RES.pdf)
It is understood that the money intended for the trust fund would be derived from any funds that remained after the Phoenix Venture Holdings creditors were paid. Although when speaking at the time John
Towers indicated the millions would be made available within weeks, this date was then changed pending the publication of the then Governments inquiry; since published in 2009.
Nigel Petrie confirmed that around £12 million had been put aside for transfer into the trust fund. This money could be seen as ‘what is left’ after the closure of MG Rover. However, a disputed claim from HBOS has seen the money withdrawn from the accounts meaning any funds allocated to the trust have been assigned to the bank.
So - what options remain for money to be paid into the fund?
There remains three ways that money can be paid into the trust fund. At the moment, only £26,000 has been transferred, which is ring-fenced for any future administration costs. I've continued to follow each of the areas closely and have in recent weeks been able to obtain further documentation which raises a number of pertinent questions.
1 – ‘the HBOS claim’
From the figures available in the public domain the £12million did exist in a PVH account. This £12 million however, was subsequently withdrawn by HBOS. Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon believe this was done unfairly and are in legal proceedings to claim this back. They claim legal costs to date of more than £2 million in pursuit of this. Should they be successful, this money has been promised for the trust fund throughout all of the conversations held with Nigel.
Nigel and Peter have continued to seek legal advice and are due to have their case hearing in front of a registrar in London in February 2012.
The claim from Nigel is that the money disappeared when HBOS, owned by Lloyds Banking Group of which HM Treasury holds a 41% stake, made an apparent second claim for what he protests was a previously settled debt.
A fleet MG Rover vehicles were a cross guarantees for temporary loans to PVH. It can be proved through the records of the Price Water House Coopers (PwC) report, that PwC (the administrators appointed liquidators) facilitated the sales of the vehicles and the money raised was paid to HBOS. It appears there may have been a second claim after this for this disputed money.
Throughout the conversations, Nigel and Peter have also pointed out that in support of their case, they requested the release of certain documents from under the Freedom of Information (FOI) act. In 2007 a copy of the report prepared (but never published) by the Financial Reporting Review Panel for the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was requested. This was refused in the first instance and was refused again on appeal in 2009.
After some searching on the internet, it was possible to find a copy of the report prepared by the Information Commissioners Office, part of the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR), which discusses why this FOI request was turned down. It appears the information exchanged between the Financial Reporting Review Panel and the Department for BERR was in confidence. Breaking this trust has been deemed by the Commissioner at greater public interest than releasing a copy of the report (see: http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/decisionnotices/2009/fs_50176388.pdf)
When speaking to Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon over the course of the year, they were keen to point out that their shrewd financial negations over the sale of the assets (for the benefit of PVH and ultimately the trust fund) were the reason this money (the £12 million) was fortunately still available for the ex-workers despite having to fend-off claims from a number of creditors, which ultimately has taken time.
2 - MG Rover Capital
It is widely reported in media commentary and the public domain that £22 million lies within the accounts of MG Rover Capital. The account is reported to have profited the Phoenix Directors more than £2 million in dividends since the closure of MG Rover. However, there is a claim on this money from the Pensions Regulator and apparently the funds have been ring-fenced pending investigation. Last week, John Hemming MP agreed to write to the Pensions Regulator to clarify if this is still a claim and to try and obtain the details on it. I will post the outcome onto this website.
However, if it is assumed this claim turns out to be false, I asked on behalf of the JFRW group throughout the year to Nigel if this money would be made available or the trust fund. Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon confirmed that it would not as it did not fall under the list of companies that compensate Phoenix Venture Holdings. This would mean that combined with their original £42million, they would have profited over £68million pounds since 2000, whilst funds transferred for the ex-workers would remain at nothing.
3 - Personal Contribution
Trustee Carl Chinn has repeatedly called for the ex-directors to personally contribute £1 million to the trust find in lieu of any extra monies to help those affected by the closure. This request has been refused. In our discussions this year on behalf of the JFRW group I also asked if personal donations would be made but again this was refused. Richard Burden MP has publicly argued the same point also to no avail. Along with John Hemming MP this matter has been discussed in the House of Commons on numerous counts but with no outcome.
What about the government in all this?
The Phoenix Directors argue that Gordon Brown, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, blocked the bridging loan that would have ultimately been the saviour of MG Rover. The Phoenix Directors claim the then Prime Minister Tony Blair was in favour of the loan that they claim would have preserved the deal with SAIC. They say it was Gordon Brown who broke the deal upon his advice from Baroness Shriti (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1198210/Gordon-Brown-responsible-letting-MG-Rover-bust.html)
Following the closure of MG Rover the Government funded a four-year, £16 million inquiry into the collapse of the company. At the time of completion it was felt by the then Business Minister, Peter Mandleson serious enough for him to delay publication in order to hand to the UK Serious Fraud Office for further investigation.
The SFO however refused to investigate further. Their reason for doing so has never been published. On the SFO website it says ‘the inspectors report has not been made public, the SFO is unable to go into detail about the reasons for its decision’ (see: http://www.sfo.gov.uk/press-room/latest-press-releases/press-releases-2009/mg-rover.aspx)
The report by the National Audit Office 2006 (see: http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc0506/hc09/0961/0961.pdf) discusses the Governments position regarding the bridging loan at the time of closure.
- Appendix 7 shows their interpretations of the events regarding the bridging loan in a timeline. It claims that information was gathered that SAIC had withdrawn from the deal.
- However, it is suggested that they also thought that it was possible SAIC may have re-entered negations.
- Also stated is that at the time of closure the Government knew of other potential parties that were interested in negotiating a deal with the Phoenix Directors and the report criticises the handling of this matter.
- Finally it is claimed that in the week leading up to MG Rover going into administration senior Government members were informed by KPMG, its financial investigator, that the directors were taking weekly legal advice on the issue of wrongful trading.
In a letter written to me in July 2010 Vince Cable stated that it is not for HM Government to intervene in the management decisions of Lloyds Banking Group or HBOS. He also mentioned that the Pensions Regulator Determinations panel were investigating the issue, which would put claims directly against the £22million assets.
In a recent letter from Lloyds Banking Group they confirm their belief that all claims made on the MG Rover assets were legitimate.
At the moment it remains very difficult to envisage that any money will come into the trust fund given the many different obstacles currently in the way as outlined above. However, keeping the issue within the public domain puts continued pressure on the Phoenix Directors to remind them that there are 6,500 former employees watching these events very closely and hoping dearly that one day they will honour their pledged promises. Until then, via the JFRW we will continue to do our utmost to bring attention to the issue.
30th November 2011
Good luck to everyone attending the ex-workers reuninion tomorrow. http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2011/11/29/mg-rover-workers-to-stroll-down-memory-lane-97319-29858812/
In the last weeks I've prepared quite a bit up date which I am going to post in the coming days. At the moment it is under approval from the various people who have provided references.
1st October 2011
Since the last update I've been in contact with Nigel Petrie who has provided further information regarding the situation of the trust fund. However, I've been waiting for a reply as to what can be posted onto this website as some of the information is sensitive to the ongoing legal case regarding MGRDP funds.
Nigel confirmed that the active members of the PVH board are Nigel Petrie, Peter Dillion and Jane Ruston. The original 4 directors of PVH have stood down from their roles but retain their positions as shareholders.
Although some feel the situation is over regarding releasing funds into the trust fund, Nigel assured me this is not the case and the legal proceedings are now pending the next stage which will be early in the New Year.
In the mean time, I've been trying to speak to various senior influential figures to gather support/momentum to maintain pressure on HBOS from both a political and moral standpoint and can only offer Nigel support in this area if this is to help secure funds for the trust.
5th September 2011
Hoping to gain further clarification on the state the trust fund and the HBOS claim this week. Will post on here as soon as I hear something.
8th August 2011
Former MG Rover Chief Executive Kevin Howe is ''back in business'' according to the The Guardian / The Observer. Please click here to read the article:
9th May 2011
Lots of activity in the press today, following yesterdays ban for the Phoenix directors. Carl Chinn and I were on the Ed Doolan show on BBC Radio West Midlands at lunch time debating the point, click here for a link (approximately 1hour 5minutes in) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console
A link to the story that today Steve McCabe MP has criticised the ban: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-13332029
More from the main story:
8th May 2011
The Phoenix 4 are disqualified from being directors:
7th May 2011
Here is an update on recent activity. First of all congratulations to MG for restarting production at Longbridge: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-13054842. I am sure everyone related with JFRW wishes them all the very best.
Also, news recently that the Phoenix Four have resigned as directors of the Phoenix consortium. This must have happened before the last meeting, but nothing was mentioned to us. Please read the story here: http://www.birminghampost.net/news/mgrover/2011/04/18/phoenix-four-quit-as-directors-of-phoenix-venture-holdings-65233-28539457/
In terms of Trust Fund payout, we are awaiting the conclusion of the legal claim from the remaining directors (headed by Nigel Petrie) against HBOS, which we hope we happen in the coming months.
9th March 2011
Here is a link to an article in the Bromsgrove Advertiser this week:
7th March 2011
Here is a link to an article by Professor David Bailey from last week:
4th March 2011
i) Today the Birmingham Post covered the story of yesterday's meeting, click here for the link:
ii) Also Nigel Petrie sent the following text to clarify the Phoenix position on the dispute with HBOS:
"We continue to dispute the reasonableness of the way in which HBOS has exercised its rights in relation to the guarantee provided by MG Rover Dealer Properties, and we continue to pursue this matter"
3rd March 2011
Today there was the much publicised follow up meeting held at Transport House in Birmingham. I attended on behalf of JFRW, with Carl Chinn (Trustee), Richard Burden MP, Gerard Coyne (Unite Union), Gemma Cartwright (RCAT), Andy Cartwright (ex-worker), Eric McDonald (Trustee), and Adrian Ross. We met again with Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillion who represented Phoenix Venture Holdings.
It was honourable for Nigel and Peter to meet us and the talks were very amicable. After all, non of the Phoenix Four, notably John Towers, were prepared to meet us in person.
Sadly - they confirmed there is no money in the Trust Fund (with the exception of the £21k put aside for any future administration costs). They also confirmed the Phoenix Directors refuse to put in any of their own fortune to live up to their original £50 million pledge. In addition, any money that will be generated by the winding up of MGR Capital will also be kept by the Directors.
Any hope of money being placed into the Trust is now dependant on on the outcome of the ongoing dispute between the Phoenix Directors and HBOS.
We will all continue to speak to the press today and tomorrow to try and inform as many of the ex-workers as possible of today's meeting.
15th February 2011
Work continues behind the scenes in preparation for March 3rd. Press interest is surprisingly high.
10th February 2011
The Birmingham Post covers the story of the up-coming meeting in March: http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-news/2011/02/10/showdown-talks-over-mg-rover-trust-fund-payments-65233-28145367/
This week also saw Carl Chinn mentioning the JFRW Group live on BBC Midlands Today, confirming that the meeting is not a Trust Board meeting; it’s a meeting with all interested parties some of whom shared their support on the show too. Richard Burden MP gave a clear outline of the current position and Gemma & Andy Cartwright spoke of how alive the feeling is in the local area.
7th February 2011
Tonight’s Birmingham Mail covers the story that ex MG Rover workers received letters saying they actually owed money to PWC - despite waiting nearly 6 years for a promised payout from the Phoenix Directors via the Trust Fund. Please follow this link to read the story: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2011/02/07/former-longbridge-workers-told-you-owe-us-cash-97319-28124465/
29th January 2011
The past few weeks has witnessed the distribution of interest payments from PWC. Note, there is no connection between these payments and the Trust Fund. What has been upsetting many people, is the low amount that has been paid out - in some cases only a few pence. This has continued to stir up emotion regarding the Trust Fund situation and hopefully will heighten the pressure on the Phoenix representatives to make a positive contribution to the fund at the March 3rd meeting.
16th January 2011
Happy new year to you all. Attempts to arrange the re-meet for January are not looking possible, we therefore are looking to hold a re-meet the 1st week of February. In the mean time I am trying to organise a teleconference this week with key senior people of the Trust Fund to discuss what will happen in the event of various outcomes of the meeting. Please feel free to forward on to me your comments, inputs and suggestions and I will ensure they are passed on. Kind thanks. O.
22nd December 2010
It is with great regret and frustration that the meeting planned for today has been postponed until the new year due to bad weather conditions. We are currently pushing to try and arrange a new date ASAP, I'll post notification onto this website as soon as I hear something.
In the mean time, thanks to everyone for their support in 2010 & have a safe and happy Christmas.
18th December 2010
Thanks for the ongoing support, we're nearly at 500 supporters. 500 people who hope that next week, at the 2nd meeting between the key players regarding the trust fund, we'll finally get some answers.
11th December 2010
All set to go for the meeting on the 22nd. Nigel will be there, me, Gemma, the Union, Richard Burden MP. At least we should know with greater clarity what is going on.
1st Decemeber 2010
Nigel as been busy with business matters but has now got in touch. Our follow up meeting has been set for 22nd December 2010. It was not possible to hold it before. More to follow.
17th Novemeber 2010
A quick update. The meeting in September saw many actions given to Nigel Petrie (Trust Fund Trustee and Phoenix Venture Holdings Non Executive Director) to take to the Phoenix Consortium. It was informally agreed that we would meet again within a month. Not only are there requests, such as for the Directors to put some of their own money into the Fund, but also we collectively (including Richard Burden MP) offered support for the HBOS concern – but we need clarity on what the discretion actually is.
However despite agreeing to a quick re-meet we are still sadly waiting for Nigel to become available. So far none of the actions have been answered.
All of the attendees from the previous meeting have made themselves available, as well as Carl Chinn who was unable to attend last time for personal reasons, but Nigel so far has not communicated with us – despite a number of meeting invitations being sent to him with multiple dates offered.
On the subject of the HBOS issue, clarity and documentation on the concerns raised by the Phoenix Consortium were requested in order for us to help – so far nothing has been provided.
This week Richard, Carl and Gerard have again sent messages to Nigel requesting an update on the agreed actions and also requesting a date in the near future for another meeting. So far there is no reply. Nigel as lead Trustee has not called a meeting of the Trust Fund now in 5 years.
Hopefully very soon we will hear from Nigel and I will be able to post some reaction to the actions from the Phoenix Directors.
We are keen to hear from Nigel as soon as possible. In the last meeting it was reveled that although John
Towers promised assets of up to 50 million pounds, only 10 million would have any chance of being transferred to the fund. This is the money that is in dispute with HBOS.
As soon as I hear something I will post it onto this site.
6th November 210
This week we've pushed those concerned to organise the follow up meeting. It's proving a little difficult, but I hope we'll get confirmation in the next couple of days of a meeting in the 1st week in December. At the follow up meeting it is hoped the representatives from PVH will have some answers from the actions they took away to speak to the PVH Directors about. These include the personal contribution, MGR Capital, the communication for ex workers etc.. As soon as I hear something, I'll post it onto here.
22nd October 2010
This week we received this statement from PVH:
Statement on the Longbridge Trust – October 2010
From: Nigel Petrie – Non Executive Director, Phoenix Venture Holdings.
The Trustees of the Longbridge Trust have recently received an update from the PVH Directors and these are the key points.
Since April 2005 a great deal of work has been carried out to liquidate the assets of Phoenix Venture Holdings, including its subsidiary, MG Rover Dealer Properties. This process has involved the sale of assets, the assessment of claims from creditors and the settlement of those claims where they have been shown to be legitimate. Many hundreds of claims were received and the majority of legitimate claims have now been settled. This work has been carried out by professional staff, the cost of whom, approximately £2M, has been met directly by the four Phoenix Directors.
There is one major outstanding creditor dispute, amounting to around £9M, with one of the Banks that provided funding to MG Rover, that has yet to be resolved. A reasonable resolution of this matter is the key issue in terms of future funds for the Trust, and all possible steps are being taken to ensure a proper outcome. Further information will follow as soon as it becomes available.
15th October 2010
Check out tonights story in the Birmingham Evening Mail in reference to the MG Rover Trust Fund. http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2010/10/15/phoenix-director-steps-into-rover-trust-fund-saga-97319-27474241/
7th October 2010
All, as discussed in recent posts there was a meeting on 21st September 2010 at Transport House in Birmingham to discuss the status of the Trust Fund. The attendees were: Oliver Thomas (Justice for Rover Workers Group), Richard Burden MP, Gemma Cartwright and Andy Cartwright (Rover Community Action Trust – N.B. not MG Rover Trust Fund), Gerard Coyne (Unite the Union), Peter Dillon (Financial Consultant to Phoenix Venture Holdings), Nigel Petrie (Chair of MG Rover Trust Fund and Non Executive Director of Phoenix Venture Holdings), Eric McDonald (MG Rover Trust Fund Trustee), Adrian Ross (Member of MG Rover Trust Fund Board)
Apologies: John Sentamu Archbishop of York (previously of Birmingham) and Prof. Dr. Carl Chinn, (both MG Rover Trust Board Trustees)
I, along with Richard, Gemma and Gerard, managed to raise a number of points to the Phoenix representatives and Trust Board members, which have come to us from the various groups we represent.
I summarise these as best I can:
1) Raised was the point that at the time of closure John
Towers valued the assets transferable to the Trust Fund as worth up to £50million. It’s not known what has happened to this money. Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon have taken the action to produce a report detailing this, which is to be communicated to the Trust Fund Trustees and ex-employees.
2) Furthermore, Nigel Petrie has also taken the action to prepare a communication to the Trustees and ex-employees, giving them an update on what has happened so far in general in relation to the Trust Fund.
3) The publicised PVH/HBOS dispute was discussed in detail. It’s been agreed that Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon pass on discussed information to Richard Burden who will in turn approach ministers for support.
4) MG Rover Capital was discussed. Nigel Petrie and Peter Dillon reported that this was not part of the Phoenix Group companies and their instructions were not to consider it part of the Trust Fund. It is the case that actually the future of any potential monies from MG Rover Capital is still uncertain. The discussion covered the recent media coverage that the Pensions Regulator could be poised to make a claim on these assets. It was suggested that Nigel Petrie take the action to approach the Phoenix Consortium about the possibility that any funds that could be released, be made applicable to the Trust Fund.
5) Discussed was the point raised publically by Trustee Carl Chinn that the Phoenix Directors make a personal donation of £1million each to the fund. It was raised that at the time of closure up to £50million was promised for the Fund, yet over 5 years on the Fund remains empty, with many ex-workers suffering great financial hardship and are holding off from/struggling with the repayment of debts in the hope of a payout. It was pointed out that at the time of closure, it was when the Directors’ £42million remuneration was questioned during a BBC interview with John Towers, that the figures for the Trust Fund were given. It was announced that the Directors had not taken any remuneration from Phoenix Venture Holdings since the collapse of MG Rover. Nigel Petrie has taken the request for a personal donation to the Phoenix Directors.
6) It was discussed that the Trust Board had not met for a number of years and the attendees of the meeting requested the board to meet as soon as possible. Nigel Petrie has been asked to convene a meeting.
7) A proposed date of November has been given for a follow up meeting to discuss the progress of these actions. Gerard Coyne will take the action to facilitate this.
I hope the points raised best serve the concerns of those who have contacted the website. Please continue to send in your comments and I’ll post them onto the comments received page.
It was discussed that the Justice for Rover Workers website be a suitable medium to communicate such progress to interested parties.
Kind thanks again to everyone who has supported this website so far.
6th October 2010
First of all to those who log in regularly to the site, my apologies for the delay since the last update. Ironically, much has happened in the last month that I would like to write about. I've been holding off from posting the details from the meeting held at the end of September. This was to protect the issues that were the items of discussion. Today in order to speed up this communication, I've emailed my proposed brief to everyone who was involved at the meeting. Unless I receive any objection, a more detailed update will be posted tomorrow night. Sorry again for the delay, but this time it was a little out of my hands as I was not sure which points were subject for public discussion.
Kind thanks again to everyone for their support.
6th September 2010
Hi all, just a quick update. I'm on holiday at the moment, hence why it has been a little quiet over the past week or so. However I'm still chasing things as best I can. The September meeting is still being planned. Some of the invited parties appear to be unavailable...but I hope that they can make the effort to attend the meeting given its importance. When I'm back next week I'll ramp up the work again and see how I can make some more progress. I've a few ideas on how to move things forward from here. In the last week I contacted Gemma Cartwright seeking her support for the campaign, following the excellent work she did with the Rover Community Trust. Also I've contacted the Unite Union to see how they can help us. I'm awaiting their replies. In the short term, the key thing is for those invited to the September meeting is to confirm their attendance. Let's all get round the same table and put our efforts together.
24th August 2010
There is still no indication that John
Towers will meet with the JFRW Group in the short term, for a meeting as requested in the letter sent on behalf of the group in July.
However there is now a possibility of a meeting between several of the interested parties to discuss the Trust Fund next month. I'll await the outcome of this meeting (which I am also attending) before suggesting any next steps. When I've confirmation of the September activities I'll post them on here.
31st July 2010
This week I sent a letter on behalf of the JFRW Group to John Towers. To read a copy of the letter please click here: Letter to JT July 2010.pdf
As well as requesting a face to face meeting with John Towers to discuss the Trust Fund, I sent in all of the comments/questions that have been sent into this website so far.
Currently I am awaiting a reply from John Towers, when I receive one I'll post any news onto this site.
21st July 2010
I continue to pursue all avenues for the Trust Fund on behalf of the JFRW group. This week letters will be sent out on behalf of the group and posted onto this website in due course. On Sunday, the JFRW Group against received more national media attention, this time from the Mail on Sunday publishing an article on the claim from the Pensions Regulator. Click here to read the article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1295622/Ex-staff-lose-Rover-cash.html
13 July 2010
The MG Rover Trust Fund story was today covered on national television, on the Channel 4 7pm news. Click here to watch the news report:
Where has the Trust Fund gone?...by Spoz http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/science_technology/no+payouts+from+aposcynicalapos+mg+rover+trust+fund/3709477
Arhcbishop of York Dr Sentamu airs his concerns over the missing Trust Fund payments in tonights Birmingham Evening Mail please click here to read the story: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2010/07/13/sentamu-hits-out-over-poor-97319-26841663/
10th July 2010Jon Griffin from the Birmingham Evening Mail, writes a piece discussing the sad increase in suicides, house repossessions and family break-ups that have rocked Longbridge since the closure of MG Rover, with comments from Gemma Cartwright. Click here to read a copy of the article: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2010/07/10/suicide-toll-on-former-mg-rover-staff-in-longbridge-97319-26825148/
8th July 2010
Jon Griffin from the Birmingham Evening Mail, writes a piece discussing the possibility of a high court claim from Phoenix over the HBOS funds, click here to read a copy of the article:
6th July 2010
Vince Cable kindly writes a detailed letter to the JFRW group in response to the letter sent to him in June, which offers further clarity on the legal complexities of the situation, the role of the government and the HBOS claim.
3rd July 2010
You can read a copy of Vince Cable's letter here: Reply from Vince Cable.pdf and please continue to send in your comments.
Next Steps: I will continue to try and achieve clarity on the Trust Fund, the remaining MGR Capital money and the claim of the pensions regulator. Thank-you all for your continued patience and support.
The Birmingham Mail run an article, quoting from both Richard Burden MP and myself. Richard calls upon the Phoenix 4 to put some of their own cash towards the trust fund, while I focused on the claim from HBOS and appealed for clairty from Vince Cable. You can read the article by clicking here: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2010/07/03/mp-urges-phoenix-four-to-pay-out-on-trust-fund-97319-26775622/
June 30th 2010
I continue to contact Government officials pursing further clarity on the Trust Fund and situation with HBOS. Hopefully there will be significant progress over the next few days. As soon as something is known, I'll post it on this website and communicate via twitter and the facebook group.
June 18th 2010
Vince Cable responds to concerns over the claims by HBOS claims money set aside for the Trust Fund. Read the report by clicking on the following link:
June 10th 2010
This week I sent a letter on behalf of the JFRW group to Vince Cable the Governments Business Secretary, asking for his support for the group and in particular the issue surrounding HBOS.
Yesterday the Birmingham Evening Mail reported on the story. A copy of the letter and also a link to the newspaper article can be found here:
Letter to Vince Cable.pdf
June 5th 2010
The letter from John Towers to the JFRW Group is a key story in the Birmingham Post (click on the link below). Please send in your comments to the website using the tab on the left.
3rd June 2010
Attached is a letter from John Towers, written in reply to the public letter sent on behalf of the Justice for Rover Workers Group on May 5th 2010. (N.B. the letter from John Towers was sent and is dated 28th May, due to spamming problems there was a delay to its publication on this website). Please continue to send in any comments/questions that you have. Kind thanks again for your wonderful support.
More updates to follow over the course of next week.
Reply from John Towers 28th May 2010.pdf
23rd May 2010
STILL NO REPLY FROM JOHN
TOWERS. On the 5th May, a Public Letter was sent to John
Towers (see below for a copy of the letter) on behalf of the Justice for Rover Workers Group. This letter has been ignored and not even acknowledged. Why? The disregard for the ex workers is there for everyone to see. John
Towers was very quick to come forward and point the finger at the Government, yet when asked questions directly, such as where is the rest of the money he promised (not all of the Trust Fund money is held by HBOS), he cannot even be bothered to reply to the ex workers who have suffered for so long.
As promised, we will not stop here.
Further updates to follow over the coming week.
12th May 2010
The Justice for Rover Workers Group had yet another story in the Birmingham Evening Mail tonight. The press are now picking up on the success of our campaign. Also, our list of supporters has now passed 400 and continues to grow. Read the article at the following link:
11th May 2010
The Justice for Rover Workers Group continues to flush out the truth regarding the Trust Fund. Today, according to the Birmingham Mail, the Government is trying to put in yet another claim for the Trust Fund money. Read the article at the following link:
6th May 2010
The Justice for Rover Workers Group gets a full story in the Birmingham Evening Mail tonight on page 8, sadly only in the paper copy at the moment and not yet available online. There are quotes from the public letter sent to John Towers on Tuesday.
The letter sent from John Towers to Richard Burden MP this week also attracted a lot of press today. Please read yesterdays notes for a copy of the story. Here are links to todays articles:
http://www.birminghampost.net/multimedia/business-bulletin/video/2010/05/06/john-towers-attacks-labour-government-over-mg-rover-workers-payout-65233-26390461/ (contains video)
5th May 2010
Here is a copy of the letter, I sent on behalf of the Justice for Rover Workers Group yesterday to John Towers. Please feel free to send in your comments, via the ''add your support/comments'' tab on the toolbar to the left. Click on this link the read the letter: Public Letter 4th May 2010.pdf
Today, the Justice for Rover Workers Group received the following letter in reference to the Trust Fund. It is from John
Towers, to Richard Burden MP. Please feel free to send in your comments, via the ''add your support/comments'' tab on the toolbar to the left. Click on this link to read the letter: ReplytoBurden.pdf
4th May 2010
Today the story in reference to the money held in HBOS printed yesterday in the Birmingham Post was discussed on Birmingham Radio WM throughout the day. Carl Chinn, trustee of the fund, continued to speak out publically in favour of the group, urging former workers to sign up to the campaign.
I also today completed the public letter to John
Towers and have been told it will be published in the Birmingham press by the end of the week. I have raised a number of questions on behalf of the Justice for Rover Workers Group.
Thank you to everyone who has so far supported the website. In a single month, it is this website and the Justice for Rover Workers supporters that has put this story back onto the front pages of the local news. We have already taken a step towards providing some clarity on the trust fund. I hope that soon there will be even greater clarity.
Kind thanks once again
3rd May 2010
Today 2 articles have appeared in the Birmingham Press about the Trust Fund and Justice for Rover Workers campaign. Our reply has been written and is being handed over for print. We will find out tomorrow when this is to be published. Thanks to everyone for their continued patience and support. Once it is known if/when we're going to print, we'll immediately post a copy onto this website.
Here is a link to the recent Birmingham Evening Mail and Birmingham Post articles about the website:
29th April 2010 http://www.birminghampost.net/news/2010/04/29/former-birmingham-bishop-attacks-phoenix-four-for-delay-over-payments-65233-26338793/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIhCOUqFZvk (contains video)
Also here is a letter from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills, saying that the money raised from sale of MG Rover Capital will not be part of the Trust Fund according to Nigel Petrie. Letter from Department for Business Innovation & Skills.jpg
Following the publication of these articles, 3 American websites have picked up on the story:
Thank-you to all who have already logged onto the website and registered your support. Please continue to spread the word and let’s try to get as many people supporting the website as possible.
You can also join our Facebook Group by searching for ''Justice for Rover Workers'', or sign for instant updates from the website via twitter at