Passions run high at Cadbury debate

(Lord Digby Jones speaking exclusively to after tonight’s debate about the Kraft takeover of Cadbury)

Passions ran high at a packed Rowheath Pavilion on Tuesday evening as experts and residents clashed over the best way to preserve Bournville’s future in the light of the Kraft takeover of Cadbury.

An expert panel that included Professor Carl Chinn and Lord Digby Jones spent two hours discussing the repercussions that would be felt across Birmingham should Kraft cut production at the Bournville factory. Lord Digby Jones, speaking to Bournville Village ahead of the debate said: “If I’d been working here I would feel insecure and angry”. He went on to say that Kraft got Cadbury “on the cheap” but that it did demonstrate that Britain was an attractive business environment.

That position was echoed by Jerry Blackett, leader of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce who stated in the debate that Birmingham should welcome Kraft and demonstrate to them that we have expertise worth investing in: “we’re worried about Kraft because we haven’t eyeballed them yet, we haven’t met them”.

But other panel members remained unconvinced with Carl Chinn and Digby Jones clashing over whether a policy of protectionism would help preserve British manufacturing. Professor Chinn received a warm welcome from the crowd and gave a rousing speech exclaiming: “enough is enough. We’ve watched our region be devastated. Manufacturing matters”

Emotional contributions came from the many Bournville residents present. But even here there were opposing views. Elisabeth Edwards wanted simple answers as to why the takeover was allowed to happen whilst 88 year old Stanley Holland claimed “business is business”.

Below are some images from the night. We’ll have further updates and exclusive video from the debate over the coming days.

10 comments on “Passions run high at Cadbury debate

  1. I don’t see what the problem is, Kraft make better chocolate than Cadbury already, ala Toblerone, Milka another thing the Cadbury factory is antiquated, production facilities need modernising continually to keep ahead of the game, if that means relocating so be it, there are bigger global issues at hand we should be debating, this put in perspective only ‘potentially’ affects a small minority of the population, probably with vested interests like property prices in Bournville, just my 2 cents worth 🙂

  2. You don’t see what the problem is?

    Thousands of Jobs as Risk *(mine included) !
    Future of Bournville Factory , which indecently has just through a massive modernisation program
    Besides the Jobs, great concern about how Kraft are going to re coop their investment, don’t forget as of today (assuming the Shareholders vote as expected) , we have now inherited this massive debt!
    The fact you have posted your comments onto a site run by Bournville residents, where the vast majority work, have worked or are reliant on someone who does work @ Bournville are understandably worried about their mortgages and yes probably their property prices!

  3. do not think it looks good for bournville worked there 10 years ago and the factory looked tired then so needs big investment or just get out and find a new one where the labour is cheaper and the running costs are less. Cadbury chocolate will taste the same but will not be british

  4. I hope no-one loses their jobs, but lets face it it’s probably going to happen, Kraft wants the market, not the facility or the people. I think an opportunity exist here to gather up this expertise and start a new ‘Cadbury’. I would certainly support their product instead of a Krafty new Cadbury

  5. There are MANY other choolatiers in Britain who produce chocolates as good as Cadbury’s, and FAR FAR better than all the American chocolate I have tasted. So I shall simply switch brands. I never ate more than once any of Krafts other products.
    We have a spineless and craven government though, to allow this sell-out to happen.

  6. Is the local media “milking” this story for their listening figures? This story has been exhausted.

  7. I worked onsite at Bournville as a Manager for a contractor. I had dealings with Chirk,Marlbrook & Somerdale on a daily basis and i think the real worry by the Cadbury management and workers is that they will be found out by new owners. Cant work today too cold in the factory, cant work today too warm in the factory, Cant do that job till it has been risked assesed 5 times. Pathetic

  8. I am declaring my voice will be added to yours, in whatever way you desire. I’m appalled at the sell off, and the prospect of job losses, and I’m very concerned about Bournville as a whole. The ethos that the company has been built on will finally fade away. My thoughts are with you, as it really feels like a death in the family.

  9. @John

    Yes I agree they are in for a massive culture shock, been there seen it myself again as an outside contractor waiting for two/three hours whilst someone fetches a ladder and a union rep on the way is not unheard of, to make sure nobodys job/life is at risk to climb four rungs up a ladder, the upshot of this of course is anybody pricing a job for Cadbury would usually double the price at least to cover all the BS that goes on, can’t see the new owners standing for it, they can’t afford to anyway with the debt burden.

  10. @margaret georgiadou

    Not sure what you expected the Government to do – Cadbury’s was already owned by international shareholders and so well out of reach. It was sold off by the family years ago. Of course it is worrying for the area – I live a mile away but don’t blame the Government they are powerless in situations like this unless competition laws are breached. I’d love to see international capital brought under better scrutiny but sadly it is unlikely any time soon.