LONDON (Jan. 24)—The British government will conduct a three-month competitiveness study of the United Kingdom rubber and tire manufacturing industry, according to Richard Cabourn, trade minister at the Department of Trade and Industry. "We will be looking for a report which improves our understanding of the competitiveness of the rubber industry and provides the basis for initiatives to support the sector," a department spokesman said. The study will be conducted by a number of consultants working with trade groups, including the British Rubber Manufacturers Association. The British tire industry has lost more than 3,000 jobs in the past 18 months as Continental A.G., Cooper-Avon Tyres, Goodyear and Michelin Tyres U.K. Ltd. have closed or cut back operations in the U.K. In addition, Michelin has announced 950 additional cuts by year-end 2001.