In the evidence he gave to the Business and Enterprise Select Committee, Peter Mandelson set out a convincing case for supporting Jaguar Land Rover.
It’s not just that the business supports many thousands of jobs, including both its own employees and staff in the supply chain.
The carmaker is also one of Britain’s major investors in research and development – and far and away the largest in the automotive sector.
Much of its work in recent years has focused on creating environmentally-friendly vehicles.
In fact, despite a perception Jaguars and Land Rovers are gas-guzzlers, the ranges already include some of the greenest on the planet in terms of miles to the gallon for that segment of the market.
But Jaguar Land Rover is planning to go even further in meeting demand for green transport, and is spending money to ensure it continues to be a world leader in the field.
As Lord Mandelson says, environmentally-friendly technology could create millions of jobs in Britain.
That is why the nation needs to retain firms investing in it, which means Jaguar Land Rover.
And this is one reason why the carmaker cannot be allowed to “go to the wind”, as the business secretary puts it.
But it remains to be seen what exactly the government is willing to do to ensure the business survives the credit crunch, and does so in a form which allows it to continue making crucial investments.
Ministers have been asked to consider a number of possibilities, including protecting investment in research and development and ensuring finance arms, which provide credit to customers, have the same help as banks to ensure they can continue lending.
Lord Mandelson and Gordon Brown give the impression they face a difficult choice. Carmakers would probably like the government to do all these things rather than choose between them, but that may not be a realistic demand.
Either way, ministers must decide what they are willing to do.
The measures which have been announced by Lord Mandelson will aid many major businesses but the largest, including Jaguar Land Rover, are excluded.
Other firms deserve support too, but the fact is that if Jaguar Land Rover goes under or dramatically scales back operations then it will take a lot of these smaller businesses with it.
The government must take great care with the public’s money, and should not rush to make it available to private firms even as loans, but the time has come to make a decision.