Robert Hardware, 21 year old candidate in the Sutton New Hall by-election, has joined the fight by other Liberal Democrats against the possible closure of the Jaguar Land Rover plant at Castle Bromwich. Along with Cllr Ann Holtom who represents Tyburn Ward where the JLR factory is located, and Lorely Burt, the Lib Dem MP for Solihull, the site of the other threatened plant, Robert is warning of the human cost of closure and the impact on the local economy, local services and related businesses.
Ann Holtom has called on Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, to use his influence with the parent company TATA to reverse their closure proposals and keep the two West Midlands Jaguar Land Rover plants open. In a letter to Lord Mandelson, Cllr Holtom pointed out that: "Birmingham & the West Midlands have lost far too many car plants and we now only have the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich which is now faced with the possibility of closure."
"Massive regeneration projects have been undertaken on the eastern side of the city that have provided additional employment opportunities at the Fort Retail Park and the Fort (former Dunlop Tyre factory). Improved housing has been provided by Castle Vale Housing Action Trust on the former run down and outdated Castle Vale Estate."
"All these developments are within a few hundred yards of the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich. It would be a great shame if all this investment was to be thrown away if the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich was to close."
Robert Hardware is backing the case for government intervention. He added that "Jobs would be lost at the businesses that rely on Jaguar and its workforce. New Hall adjoins the immediate area where JLR Castle Bromwich is sited and, at a time of recession, the impact of closure could only add to uncertainties over jobs and local business viability. We would not want to be a position where the government and Birmingham Council have to regenerate the area all over again if the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich was to shut down."
Robert added that: "I fully endorse Cllr Ann Holtom's position when she points out that in the last five years we have lost Rover at Longbridge and LDV Bromford. We simply cannot afford to lose another car plant in Birmingham, especially one so vital to the New Hall area."
This website will keep you posted with Lord Mandelson's response.