LAND Rover CEO, David Smith, has demanded the Government deliver its car industry aid URGENTLY.
Only by doing so quickly will serious consequences be avoided, he said.
He has just spoken at a CBI dinner, to an audience that included business secretary Lord Mandelson.
Smith was stark. ‘It would now be a tragedy were the aid package not to be delivered in time to avert the industrial consequences of another quarter like this one.’
He took the opportunity to point out to Mandelson that German, French, Swedish and American governments had all pledged tens of billions of support. Similar urgent action was imperative for the UK.
It was not a bail-out, said Smith, contrary to some media reports. In the 18 months before the credit crunch, JLR was £600m in profit.
What’s more, the company earns the UK over £4 billion a year from exports, while last year it spent £2.5 billion with suppliers, supporting a staggering 75,000 jobs.
Smith told the audience that the economic crisis was out the company’s hands. It had been brought about by a ‘massive collective failure of leadership of those who run our financial systems.’ He did not mince his words.
‘Manufacturing matters. It has been the bedrock of Britain’s economy… Over the last quarter of a century, this reliance on manufacturing and trade has been overshadowed. Too much of our economy has been dominated by the service and financial sectors. In the last few months, we’ve seen the folly of the over-emphasis on finance.’
It was essential, he added, to ensure this did not happen again – but without falling into the trap of recovery-stifling over-regulation.
Firm words indeed from the premium UK-brand boss. Time will tell whether it has the required effect…