There’s a horrible irony in the fact that the fate of the automotive sector was the topic of a Commons debate on the same day new unemployment figures were published.
The number out of work in Britain has risen by 137,000 over three months, to 1.86 million. But this dramatic increase will be dwarfed by the scale of job cuts if major motor manufacturers go under.
When a carmaker cuts or ends production, the effects are felt by suppliers across the country.
So the Government must do everything it can to support the automotive industry. As MPs stressed, it is a viable and innovative sector of the economy which plays a crucial role generating wealth.
The problem firms like Jaguar Land Rover face is that their supply of credit – which they rely on for cashflow whether trading is good or bad – has dried up.
The collapse of MG Rover was a tragedy for the West Midlands, but it was also no secret that the business had serious problems.
However, to allow a well-managed firm like Jaguar Land Rover to collapse in these extraordinary times would be a tragedy, and one for which Labour would not easily be forgiven.
But it must also be said that Ministers are right to be careful about making loans available, or guaranteeing credit.
If the money is needed, and it probably is, then they should provide it. But they must carry out due diligence and ensure the funds are really required and cannot be obtained elsewhere.
As business minister Ian Pearson said, Jaguar Land Rover and its parent company must first use any resources at their disposal.
After that, it is up to the carmaker to convince government it has done everything which it is capable of doing itself, and the time for taxpayers’ money has come.