Future of Vauxhall motors Ellesmere Port plant under the spotlight in Berlin

BUSINESS Secretary Lord Mandelson is in Germany for top-level talks on Vauxhall Motors' future.
Earlier this week he met a number of senior representatives from the Unite union and MPs whose constituencies include the company's plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton.

More than 5,000 jobs are hanging in the balance.

In Germany, Lord Mandelson will be meeting senior government officials and Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

He is also due to hold talks with Magna, the preferred bidder for GM Europe, which is being carved off from its debt-laden parent company.

GM is now under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US as it struggles to downsize and adapt to meet a tougher market.

The UK Government has been working closely with all the parties involved for months to set up a long-term capital structure for GM Europe, including the two UK plants.

Lord Mandelson said: "The Government is continuing to do all it can to secure the future of production at the Luton and Ellesmere Port plants.
"The UK Government is at the heart of the discussions on securing a commercial solution for GM Europe.
"I continue to fight for the best interests of all Vauxhall's workforce in the UK."

On Tuesday, bosses from Magna visited Ellesmere Port and Luton as part of the six-week "due diligence" process that must be followed before its takeover of Vauxhall and its German sister-company Opel can go ahead.

Magna's director of corporate communications, Daniel Witzani, said: "I am not able to provide you with a statement regarding the visits in Luton and Ellesmere Port as we do not comment on ongoing processes and negotiations.

"In general, the visits in the Luton and Ellesmere Port plants are part of the comprehensive due diligence process and negotiations which are currently ongoing on a wide basis and in all European countries with Opel/Vauxhall/GM operations.

"The object of the visits is to review the situation and to gather information. Based on this, different future scenarios will be made in order to have a basis for a decision."

Lord Mandelson was last week criticised by the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Ellesmere Port and Neston for not going to Germany sooner.
"Lord Mandelson should get off the phone and get over to Germany to represent Germany properly and Britain's interest over the Sale of General Motors' European divisions," said Stuart Penketh.

"I am calling for face-to-face negotiations, not arms-length phone calls with only vague assurances from the interested parties

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