Government-sanctioned commissions of inquiry typically cost money. Taxpayers’ money. In the case of the MG Rover saga, £11 million (€14.8 million) over the past three years, and still counting. It has emerged that the independent auditors and investigators have run up bills of £95,094 (€127,400) on hotel costs and £29,279 (€39,224) on food alone.
Accusations have started flying thick and fast, with trade and industry spokeswoman for the Liberal Democratic Party Lorely Burt saing to The Birmingham Post: “It feels like the government has issued a blank cheque. It is high time all those who lost their jobs, their families and the taxpayer got answers.”
Six thousand jobs were lost when MG Rover shut down its factory in Longbridge and went under in 2005.
"Everybody said they wanted an independent investigation,” Northfield MP Richard Burden said, “and it's not independent if ministers tell the inquiry what to do. But I think the accountants have had long enough and ought to publish their findings. This has taken longer than the inquiries into the Iraq war." Part of Burden’s constituency is Longbridge.
The UK government says it cannot tell the investigators to quicken their pace as this may be viewed as meddling with an independent inquiry. Nanjing Automobile Corporation, a 61 year old Chinese company, now owns the right to manufacture MGs and Rover products.