As a show of support it was probably the best they could do.
Chancellor Gordon Brown and recently appointed Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling turned up to Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant on Merseyside in a green Vauxhall Vectra shortly before 10am yesterday.
But the news that greeted them, as had been widely expected, was bleak - 900 more jobs lost in the UK motor industry.
Mr Brown said he had travelled to the plant to support the workers and offer any help the Government could give.
"We will do what we can to help each and every one of the workforce who may be affected by this announcement to find other jobs in the area," he said.
"We want to do everything we can as a Government to put this company and the workforce in a position to win a new model and secure #100 million-plus of investment to guarantee work for 20 years ahead in this area."
Mr Darling said: "We're extremely disappointed to learn about the company's decision to cut one of Ellesmere Port's three shifts. This will clearly come as a major blow to the workforce, particularly after all the progress the plant has made recently.
"However, we welcome GM's pledge that the company wants to handle the staff reductions via voluntary means, avoiding compulsory redundancies if at all possible. We are pleased that the company has made clear that the change announced today will help the plant's prospects of securing its long-term future by winning production of the next generation Astra.
"Much more needs to be done to deliver that prize, but we will continue to work very closely with Ellesmere Port to support its bid.
"In particular, we have received an application for grant aid to support the investment for the New Astra. We cannot make a formal decision on that today, as we have go through the proper procedure.
"The Government will continue to work in close part-nership with the company, the unions and the Northwest Regional Development Agency to enable Ellesmere Port to make the best possible bid for the new model. We remain committed to doing whatever we legitimately can to ensure its success."
Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, said he would be seeking talks with General Motors bosses to discuss the future of the plant.
Mr Blair told MPs that the announcement was "deeply disappointing" and he offered the Government's support to help those facing redundancy.
He praised the Vauxhall workers for the "magnificent" job they carried out, adding that they would be well worth the investment needed to build the new model.
But Shadow trade and industry secretary Alan Duncan accused Mr Brown and Mr Darling of giving false hope to the Vauxhall workers by travelling to the factory for a "photo opportunity".
He said: "We all know that politicians have to make visits like this one. But it is very hard to see what this visit can achieve for the workers at Vauxhall. We fear they are being given false hope, for the sake of a photo opportunity.
"The future of Ellesmere Port needs both sensitivity and realism. Sensitivity about employees, and realism about the state of the motor industry. General Motors is fighting for its life, and in a fiercely competitive industry any plant that only makes one model is going to be at risk when that model is due for replacement.
"Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling should not pretend that their visit will influence this decision.
"What actually would make a difference is a better understanding on their part of the steady corrosion of the UK's competitiveness which is something they can influence.
"It is their policy and decisions in government that matter far more to any company's future than their photo opportunity in Ellesmere Port."