Prescott: There's no magic wand for doomed car workers

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The Government is working tirelessly to save jobs at car giants Rover and Ford, but there is no "magic wand", the Deputy Prime Minister said today.

John Prescott urged unions to support Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers in the fight to rescue Rover from closure and safeguard jobs at Ford's Dagenham plant in Essex.

The Government recognised that manufacturing companies were "feeling the heat" of the strong pound - or the relative weakness of the euro - Mr Prescott told the annual conference of the Manufacturing Science and Finance union in Harrogate.

"We must take the long term view. It would be wrong to let short term pressures lead back to policies which produced boom and bust."

Mr Prescott maintained that manufacturing was not on "death row", pointing out that exports are increasing and more cars are being built in Britain.

The Deputy Prime Minister said last week's elections were a "wake up call" to Labour, adding that the party should listen to people's concerns.

The results were also a wake up call to Labour supporters who did not vote.

"We need to rediscover the art of organisation and campaigning. We have to enthuse our voters."

Mr Prescott attacked Tory leader William Hague for his "scare-mongering" on race and asylum seekers, adding: "The man should be ashamed of himself."