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Luckwarm on car package

A GOVERNMENT package to help the country’s embattled car industry has received a mixed response.

A GOVERNMENT package to help the country’s embattled car industry has received a mixed response.

Earlier this week, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson announced that up to £2.3 billion in loans would be made available. Although the move was welcomed in some quarters, others thought that the action was “too little, too late” to help companies.

Jaguar Land Rover, which has plants in Solihull and Castle Bromwich, is among the car marques to have suffered at the hands of the downturn.

Thousands of jobs have already been lost from across the group and there have been several cutbacks in production over the past few months.

Over the past few days, politicans, environmentalists and heads of business have given their views on the latest measures.

* Lorely Burt, MP for Solihull, said: “The package has come very late, causing unnecessary worry for hundreds of thousands of employees. Some of the £2.3billion available was already announced and is not new.

“I would like to have seen more, but I know that Jaguar Land Rover is well placed to take advantage of the guarantees on offer to preserve the capacity, skills and jobs at the heart of our local economy.”

* Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, said: “All those dependent on Jaguar Land Rover, including people who work for the car manufacturers directly or work for business further along the supply chain, will be pretty disappointed by today’s announcement.

“Whilst some of the measures are welcome, the reality is that today’s announcement offers very little to fix the urgent problem of credit supplies drying up.”

* Jerry Blackett, CEO of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Business in the West Midlands will welcome the much needed support package for the UK car industry.

“A total of £2.3bn from the European Investment Bank and the UK Government represents substantial support for an industry which is not asking for a bail-out but is a substantial business which needs short-term cash-flow assistance to ensure long-term succss.

* Chris Crean, spokesman for Friends of the Earth, said: “The motor industry’s commitment to tackling climate change has been stuck in the slow lane for far too long.

“It must urgently change direction and play its part in developing a green economy..”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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