Chambers of Commerce in Birmingham and Liverpool have joined to support the campaign to save the UK’s car industry.
The organisations today gave their backing to the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail and Coventry Telegraph, who have linked with the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post to save jobs in the country’s motor industry.
Thousands of workers and suppliers rely on Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plants in Birmingham and Solihull as well as Liverpool, which has the Vauxhall factory at Ellesmere Port on its doorstep.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCI), said: “This is an important initiative by the media in both cities and we feel it is important for their business communities to lend support.”
Jack Stopforth, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, added: “This campaign is very welcome. The car industry is not alone in needing help but we believe this is a very special case.”
Mr Blackett said: “Government aid for the car industry is essential but we underline this is not a bail-out but cash-flow support. The UK car industry cannot be compared with the woes of US car giants. They are 20 years behind modernising to produce cars that meet the needs of consumers and the environment. This is a very special case because 800,000 jobs are at risk.
“And the problem goes much further. If we lose research and development assets in companies like JLR and Vauxhall they would be lost for good. There would be no chance of recovering them. Any cash-flow help from taxpayers should have strings attached. We want to see JLR advance quicker with its investment in green technologies and an emphasis on skills development and apprenticeships. We would expect Tata, owners of JLR, to be the first port of call for finance. However, if their competitors in the US, UK, Spain, Sweden, Germany and Japan are receiving subsidies they would be at a competitive disadvantage if they did not receive state aid.
“We would not want to see the public sector taking a long-term ownership in the car industry.”