Birmingham MP and Tory front bench spokesman Andrew Mitchell has accused the government of dithering over its support package for the UK car industry.
On the eve of the West Midlands Auto Industry Summit in Birmingham, Mr Mitchell said the ‘Mandelson Plan’, a £2.3 billion package of aid for the industry, failed to address all of its challenges, and called for the introduction of widespread loan guarantee schemes.
Mr Mitchell, Shadow Minister for Birmingham, said: “The automotive industry is vital to many people’s livelihoods in the West Midlands and to the UK economy as a whole. The fear is that the clock is ticking for the car industry and action is needed now. The Conservative Party has been calling for help for small, medium and large businesses since November last year and the delay so far from the Government have already resulted in job losses and problems for the industry. Whilst any support from Government is welcome it is clear that there are still a number of concerns about their proposed scheme.
“So far the Government have reacted too slowly to the economic situation and time is of the essence when dealing with cash flow. The crucial thing now is to get the credit market flowing.
“I am extremely concerned that the time scale for implementing these schemes is too slow, that there are too many strings attached and too many hoops to be jumped through. These companies need immediate access to the schemes today - tomorrow may be too late.
“The Government also needs to address the issues around consumer spending and have so far produced no initiatives to encourage consumers to buy automotive vehicles. It’s package will not help sell a single car. Whilst they dither we lose risking competitive ground against Germany, France and other countries that have already acted – ultimately putting further jobs at risk.”