A leading Midland MP has reassured Jaguar Land Rover workers that saving the country’s automotive industry was the “absolute priority” of business secretary Peter Mandelson.
The company has called for a state-sanctioned loan or credit guarantee at commercial rates to help it through the economic crisis.
Owners Tata have already pumped in an estimated £600m of extra cash to help JLR stay in production until the world money markets, the usual source of working capital, begin operating normally again.
They are also in negotiations with the government over help.
While “detailed decisions” of the rescue package were up to the Treasury and Lord Mandelson, home secretary and Redditch MP Jacqui Smith said the business secretary was determined to help. “I know that the industry in Redditch depends on the automotive industry,” she said.
“I have been talking to them recently. Peter Mandelson has come down to Redditch to talk to me and local people about his concerns to make sure we get through these difficult economic times in as good a situation as possible.
“The detailed decisions like that [the rescue package] are up to the Treasury and Peter Mandelson. I know that he has an absolute priority to help us and our industry, and the car industry in particular, to get through the situation as healthily as possible, and I support that.”
Experts yesterday warned the government that the West Midlands would become an industrial wasteland with thousands of job losses if JLR were allowed to fail.