‘Tis the season to be jolly, they say. Perhaps not if you work for Jaguar Land Rover though. Or a company who works for JLR. Or a company who works for a company who works for JLR.
Talk of bail-outs has come to dominate the business agenda, particularly in the manufacturing-heavy Midlands.
Will they? Won’t they? Should they? Shouldn’t they? In the end it’s all about the supply chain.
Employees of dead-in-the-water high street retailer Woolworths might well be enviously eyeing the wads of cash which could potentially be thrown JLR’s way, just as JLR itself can only dream of the multi-billion rescue packages given to the banks over the last year.
The reason given at the time of the unprecedented banks bailout was the knock-on effect a collapse in confidence in the banking sector would have on the wider business and consumer community.
But what would be the effect of a collapse in confidence in the massive manufacturing sector?
Lord Bhattacharyya has claimed the jobs of up to half a million people are tied in with the future of JLR.
Regardless of the exact figure, it’s bleak reading knowing that thousands of people will be going into Christmas – one in which they have been urged to spend, spend, spend, mind – not knowing the future security of their jobs.
So far, the Government has been unwilling to be drawn on how it feels about a potential JLR bail-out, leading to speculation about a split in the ranks of the cabinet.
But whether or not a big bail-out is the right thing for the general economy, one thing is for sure: the jobs of thousands upon thousands of people in the Midlands and further abroad is too important an issue to be batted around from political pillar to post –we need a decision now.