[holding answer 15 January 2009]: My noble Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) spoke to JCB on 9 January 2009 and JCB was also present, as a representative of the construction equipment sector, at the meeting between the automotive industry and BERR Ministers on 27 November 2008. Support for the automotive sector has been the subject of much recent discussion and I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle) on 4 February 2009, Official Report, column 1315W.
Advantage West Midlands (AWM) has been working with other regional partners to explore ways in which they could assist industry, including these two companies. This includes support for the work force (comprising training for the existing work force, as well as support for company staff facing redundancy), support for suppliers and exploring the potential for redevelopment of parts of the companies estates.
Since Waterford Wedgewood went into administration, AWM have approached the administrators to further the discussion. In addition, a Ceramics Task Group involving AWM has been called by the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership to discuss support to the wider ceramics industry.