EU Investigating British Aid For GM Plant

$17 million in aid was given to General Motors' Vauxhall subsidiary by the British government for worker training to keep a Liverpool  plant viable.

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The European Commission said Tuesday it had launched an investigation into US$17 million in aid given to General Motors subsidiary Vauxhall by the British government, which was meant to offer training to workers in an effort to keep a GM plant near Liverpool viable.

EU officials said they were concerned the aid could violate EU state aid rules, adding they had doubts about its legality because the money used would go to training already being carried out by GM.

Neelie Kroes, the EU's competition commissioner said that while the EU supports training to improve workforce skills, ''we must make sure that the public funds do not just provide windfall profits to companies who would have paid for the training as part of their normal business.''

The investigation comes after GM said last year it would cut 900 jobs at its Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port near Liverpool.

The EU said its inquiry focused on a new 2007-2012 training program planned to improve productivity at the plant.

The British government said it would subsidize the training plan to help keep the plant in operation.


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