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Rover report gets delayed

THE government is set to delay the publication of a report into the collapse of carmaker MG Rover in 2005, pending an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.<br /><br />The move, set to be announced by business secretary Peter Mandelson today, follows a four-year inquiry into the company&rsquo;s collapse, which led to more than 6,000 job cuts.<br /><br />Opposition politicians accused the government of deliberately delaying the report, which they said would show it wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers&rsquo; money propping up the car company in the run-up to the 2005 election.<br /><br />&ldquo;I welcome the introduction of the fraud squad into what appears to be a major corporate scandal,&rdquo; the Liberal Democrat&rsquo;s treasury spokesman Vince Cable said. &ldquo;It must not be used as a smokescreen to hide what the public needs to know,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />MG Rover, Britain&rsquo;s last major independent carmaker, went into administration in April 2005 with debts of more than &pound;1bn.<br /><br />A quartet of executives known as the Phoenix Four &ndash; John Towers, Nick Stephenson, Peter Beale and John Edwards took control of the company in May 2000 after buying the company for a nominal sum of &pound;10. MG Rover stopped production in 2005.