The campaign to secure emergency government financial support for Jaguar Land Rover has been backed by Birmingham City Council.
Members last night supported a resolution demanding ministers act to ensure the company can “secure normal credit flows to effectively operate and manage their businesses”.
But the council failed to reach a united stand, after the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition refused to accept a Labour amendment welcoming support promised for the motor industry by business secretary Peter Mandelson.
Labour wanted to add several paragraphs backing Lord Mandelson’s package, which includes loans of up to £1.3billion from the European Investment Bank and a further £1billion of loans.
Council leader Mike Whitby said Labour’s amendment was “political propaganda” and he would not support it.
Opposition Labour group leader Sir Albert Bore pointed out Lord Mandelson’s rescue plan had been welcomed by JLR, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and chambers of commerce.
Sir Albert (Lab Ladywood) added: “It is regrettable the council cannot reach a collective decision on an issue of such importance. It is churlish and regrettable behaviour, and rather disturbing.”
The council backed a wide-ranging message of support for JLR and other car firms, calling on the Government to provide “effective support to the major manufacturing companies of the West Midlands through loan guarantees and direction to UK banks on lending.”
The resolution, proposed by cabinet regeneration member Neville Summerfield, added: “These viable companies, through no fault of their own, need our support during difficult times. Now government must act to ensure they can secure normal credit flows to effectively operate and manage their businesses.
“This is not about propping up ailing businesses, but showing faith in successful ones. JLR has a long and prestigious pedigree. It is a key manufacturing company of the region and nation.
“By helping JLR the Government will be supporting businesses in the automotive supply chain, as well as retaining wealth within our local economy.”
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said the British Government should follow the example set by America, France and Germany where substantial aid has been announced to keep car firms afloat during the recession.