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Peter Mandelson looking to protect Vauxhall jobs

Lord Mandelson is today in Germany to meet executives of Magna, the company which took over a number of General Motors European operations. He is specifically looking for a number of guarantees regarding Vauxhall and the thousands of jobs connected to the operation in the UK. However, while initial signs were good, in that the company had verbally agreed to guarantee jobs in the short term, there have been contrary reports regarding the medium to long term future.

However, there are also reports coming out of Berlin which suggest that the new Vauxhall owner would be open to the idea of guaranteeing positions in the UK in return for a significant UK government investment. A figure of £350 million has been suggested although as yet we have no confirmation from the government or from Magna itself. If this is the case, and the UK government injects significant taxpayer money into the operation, it will raise questions as to why there was no direct involvement in the initial talks.

Even though the UK government feels it is in relatively strong position with regards to Vauxhall in the UK, ultimately Magna will be looking to optimise its European operations and ensure as much government assistance as possible for the future. We could have a number of days of horseplay with a suggestion that ultimately the 5,000 jobs in the UK currently connected to Vauxhall should be safe at least for the moment.

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