January 2010 Archives
Kraft Chief Exectuive Irene Rosenfeld has sent a letter to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson insisting that the proposed takeover of Cadbury is "good news for British manufacturing" and promising to act with "respect for Cadbury's heritage, people and identity".
While it is a personal letter, and I don't believe it has been publicly released yet, it is in effect the promise Kraft is making to the British government and Britain as a whole.
Here is what it says:
Rt Hon Lord Mandelson
Secretary of State
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
1 Victoria Street
19 January 2010
Dear Secretary of State:
Further to my letter to you of December 10th, you will know that this morning we announced the detailed terms of our Final Offer for Cadbury and that the board of Cadbury unanimously recommends Cadbury Securityholders to accept the terms of this Offer.
I am confident that the combination of Kraft Foods and Cadbury is good news for both companies. As we have said, the Offer reflects our view of the strength of Cadbury's business, its brands and the future potential for growth. I also believe that, over the long term, this is good news for British manufacturing and will enable us to accelerate growth beyond what the two companies could achieve alone.
I recognise the concerns of the UK government and I can again assure you of our intentions to proceed with sincere respect for Cadbury's heritage, people and identity.
Irene B Rosenfeld
How entirely predictable that Birmingham City Council should own up to a possible 1,380 redundancies late on a Friday afternoon.
A perfect time to attempt to bury bad news, as a government adviser once memorably stated.
It gives me absolutely no pleasure to say 'I told you so', for this will be a personal tragedy for every individual dumped on the dole queue.
But it is now clear that the claim perpetuated by council leaders for two years, that the city's business transformation programme is not about getting rid of jobs, was little more than a cynical myth.
It is true that the latest job-shedding exercise, mainly in children's social services, is being driven forward by the near certainty of savage government spending cuts next year. But the whole ethos of business transformation - seeking to save ÃÂ£900 million over 10 years through adopting "more efficient ways of working" - is about slashing the council's 42,000 non-schools workforce.
Jonathan Walker's headline Birmingham must lead the way in reviving UK economy is about about the 2010 Cities Outlook published today. At a first reading, I took his headline to mean this city is at the forefront of solving the UK's economic problems.
Not so, as his article goes on to explain. Indeed, the 2010 Cities Outlook makes far less a sanguine read than his headline would suggest.
How the well-heeled middle classes of Moseley and Kings Heath must be sniggering at the generosity of Birmingham City Council.
And if they care to think about it as they roar around in their 4x4s they might even be a little surprised, when everyone in the public sector is talking about an impending financial nightmare and savage cuts to services, that the kind-hearted council is offering free gym membership to all regardless of circumstances.
The ÃÂ£9 million Be Active scheme in association with primary health care trusts, which has been rolled out across Birmingham, is doubtless well-meant.
It offers gym membership and swimming sessions at no cost provided participants sign up to use the facilities at least once a week.
There's a lot of speculation today about the time it took for members of the cabinet to come out in support of Gordon Brown and against calls for a secret ballot on his removal yesterday.
Apparently, the fact that senior Cabinet Ministers waited hours to make a statement suggests their support for Mr Brown was half-hearted.
I should probably point out that at least one Cabinet Minister did rule out a ballot straight away.
Liam Byrne, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill spoke to the Birmingham Post and Mail at about 12.40 yesterday afternoon, about 15 minutes after the Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt sent out their e-mail (and just moments after he first heard about it).
Interesting to note that Birmingham City Council transportation chief Len Gregory was quick off the mark with a plea to firms to allow workers to make a "staggered" early journey home as heavy snow began to fall on Tuesday afternoon.
For it was Coun Gregory who in February 2004 masterminded a notorious inquiry into the way the then Labour-controlled council dealt with a freak snowstorm that left even gritted roads impassable and resulted in motorists taking up to six hours to drive a couple of miles.