GOVERNMENT aid for the UK car industry is vital, says business confederation the CBI – and must come within days.
Business secretary Lord Mandleson, however, is today reported to disagree.
He has told The Observer that Jaguar Land Rover owners Tata must ‘look to their own resources’.
The Government will only act as a ‘lender of last resort’.
Another Government minister has, says the paper, been even more candid. ‘We are not an ATM machine.’
The news comes as CBI chief Richard Lambert this weekend urged the Government to offer a bailout package similar to that seen in America.
He said that 800,000 jobs were reliant on carmaking, and action was needed ‘urgently’.
Jaguar Land Rover alone employs 15,000 people.
Derek Simpson, joint leader of the Unite union, echoed Lamberts calls. ‘The urgency of the situation dictates that the Government must… do as it did with the banks and lose no time in intervening with vital assistance.’
‘It is no good bailing out the banks if the banks won’t then bail out business.’
In the US, the Bush Government has pledged over £11bn of state aid to the ‘big 3’ car makers.
While Ford has said it does not need aid, General Motors and Chrysler will immediately take $9.4bn and $4bn respectively.
By Richard Aucock