Call to get behind Lotus

Norfolk needs to roll out the red carpet to the new Malaysian owners of Lotus Cars to show them the value of keeping production in this county.

That was the view of one of the key members of a new taskforce set up this week to try and ensure that the iconic company stays in Norfolk.

As speculation continues about the future of the company and its 1,200-strong workforce and whether it will be sold, the New Anglia local enterprise partnership (Lep) this week also formed a co-ordination group aimed at safeguarding jobs and making the case to new owners DRB-Hicom to continue its investment in the company.

John Fuller, a member of the taskforce and leader of South Norfolk Council, said while DRB makes up its mind on its plans for Lotus, it was vital to push the case with the firm of the value of the company and why they should support it.

'At the moment we should be pulling together to make it easy for DRB-Hicom to say 'let's stay in Norfolk',' Mr Fuller said.

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'We have a responsibility to show Hicom the value of the company, not just the intellectual property but the value of the staff and its value to the local residents and the value of the taxes Lotus pays. We want Hicom to see everyone is behind Lotus.'

Mr Fuller said it was important to focus on the 'serious business of showing the people in Malaysia the value of this business'.

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'The Lep has a pivotal role in helping people in this country and abroad to see the value of what Hicom have got,' he added.

'We are trying to get contacts at the highest level with Hicom. We want them to see that everyone is behind Lotus.'

On Tuesday, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon told MPs in the House of Commons that accountancy firm KPMG had been appointed to with a mandate to sell Lotus to the Chinese.

Lotus disputed the statement, but yesterday did not elaborate on what the inaccuracies were, adding that it planned to talk to the MP direct.

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