Shadow minister Sayeeda Warsi promised to buy a new Jaguar when she met with city Tories and business leaders, while giving her backing to the Birmingham Post campaign for Government support for JLR.
Baroness Warsi made her pledge after many of those attending voiced concerns for the car manufacturer – fearing it could face the same fate as MG Rover.
They told Lady Warsi the demise of Jaguar would “devastate” the local community through jobs losses and have a huge knock-on effect on supporting industries.
Others warned its technological potential should be protected with funding for research and development.
During yesterday’s meeting Lady Warsi outlined Conservative policies to address the economic crisis and said support for JLR should come through its National Loan Guarantee Scheme, in which the government would secure a percentage of any bank loan given.
She said: “JLR is a viable company with a great future, facing difficult times and it is our responsibility to support them through those difficult times and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme does.”
Coun Nigel Dawkins (Con Bournville and prospective parliamentary candidate for Selly Oak) said JLR should not be allowed to “go to the wall”.
He said: “We can’t allow that to happen. When Rover fell they never came back.
“JLR is our leading edge manufacturing company in the West Midlands now. If JLR fails then you may as well give up on the entire West Midlands and put a ‘for sale’ sign up. We mustn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”
Coun Ken Wood (Con Longbridge and prospective parliamentary candidate for Wolverhampton South East) accused banks of sitting on Government money used to bail them out.
He said: “If you look at the way the Americans have bailed out their automotive industry – we need to do that. We need to say either you do it or we will and take that money off you we gave you.”
Coun Robert Alden, Conservative councillor for the Erdington ward which is home to the Jaguar factory, implored action be taken to ensure a loan for Jaguar. He said: “Jobs lost would devastate the local community.”
Lady Warsi told her audience: “I’ve heard so much about JLR, I’m on the verge of changing my car and I’m going to get in touch with Jaguar.”