THE EUROPEAN Commission will rule within six months on whether a pounds 152m aid package to BMW for investing in Rover's Longbridge plant was an illegal state subsidy.
Stephen Byers, the Trade Secretary, said Mario Monti, the EU Competition Commissioner, assured him the proposal would be treated fairly. BMW promised to spend pounds 3.3bn rescuing the plant if the Government gave financial assurances. Some 9,000 Longbridge jobs and 50,000 at associated suppliers are said to depend on the decision.
Spin doctor sacked
SCOTLAND'S SENIOR spin doctor was sacked yesterday over his misleading claims that death threats had been made against Susan Deacon, the Scottish Health Minister.The demise of John Rafferty, pounds 70,000-a-year chief of staff to Donald Dewar, Scotland's First Minister, marks deep divisions in the Labour-led coalition.
Fox probe four named
FOUR ACADEMICS were appointed yesterday by the Home Secretary Jack Straw to run the committee of inquiry into a ban on foxhunting. They are Dr Victoria Edwards, principal lecturer in land management at the University of Portsmouth; John Marsh, emeritus professor of agricultural economics, University of Reading; Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, emeritus professor of animal pathology, Cambridge University; and Michael Winter, professor of rural economy, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education.
Farewell to Arms
MPS PAID tribute to the Serjeant at Arms, Peter Jennings, who is retiring after 47 years of service, the 36th Serjeant at Arms since 1415.
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