Government grant for Ellesmere Port factory comes under fire

The British Government's plan to give Vauxhall £8.5m in subsidies is being investigated by the European Commission.The planned subsidy would help fund training at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port factory until 2012.However, under EU rules, state aid is only allowed to provide an extra incentive for training, and the EU believes Vauxhall would have carried out the training even without government assistance.The Ellesmere Port factory had been under threat of closure until GM announced in April that the next Astra will be built there, safeguarding 2200 jobs. GM instead decided to reduce operations at its Antwerp plant, putting 1400 Belgian jobs at risk, and quite possibly upsetting some Brussels bigwigs.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015
The Astra is now in its sixth incarnation, but it can trace its linage back to 1963's Viva

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Seat Leon 1.4 EcoTSI FR Titanium
    First Drive
    27 May 2016
    High-spec new Titanium FR trim is temptingly good value, particularly on the semi-enthusiastic 1.4 EcoTSI petrol
  • Kia Niro
    First Drive
    27 May 2016
    The Kia Niro will be one of the greenest cars in the compact crossover class when it goes on sale later this year. We drive it to see what else it has to offer
  • Car review
    27 May 2016
    Can the turbocharged successor to the 458 raise the bar again?
  • Car review
    27 May 2016
    The big-in-every-way Bentley SUV lands. We assess the impact
  • Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI R-Line
    First Drive
    27 May 2016
    The Volkswagen Touran R-Line offers a sporty twist on the ever-sensible MPV formula. We’ve sampled the punchy 2.0-litre diesel