Conservative shadow chancellor George Osborne has backed calls for government support to secure credit for Jaguar Land Rover and save thousands of Midlands car industry jobs.
He said Jaguar Land Rover is a world class company and that ‘the government should help’.
But the opposition MP also claimed that Jaguar should not be cherry-picked by chancellor Alistair Darling and business secretary Lord Mandelson for special treatment. He instead repeated his party’s call for a National Loan Guarantee Scheme to allow banks to lend to any viable business suffering from the credit crunch.
Mr Osborne welcomed the campaign demanding government help to secure a loan, at commercial rates, to boost research and development and ensure the company’s long-term future and protect the tens of thousands of Midlands car industry jobs.
He said: “Jaguar Land Rover is a key employer in the West Midlands, not only directly employing thousands of people but also creating jobs for many thousands more in the supply chain.
“It is exactly the kind of hi-tech, research-based manufacturing business we want to see in Britain, and its new work on greener vehicles is world-class.
“Of course, its foreign owners Tata must provide the support to the company that we expect. But in so far as Jaguar Land Rover’s problems are to do with a failure to get credit because of the credit crunch, government should help.”
But rather than support a direct government loan he instead outlined the Conservatives’ call for the National Loan Guarantee Scheme.
“The Conservatives have been demanding a National Loan Guarantee Scheme that would provide that credit – not just to Jaguar Land Rover, but many hundreds of West Midlands businesses who are also struggling because the banks won’t lend but who aren’t household names.
“The National Loan Guarantee Scheme offers help to all otherwise sound companies suffering through lack of credit.”
The temporary scheme, proposed by Tory leader David Cameron last month, would guarantee loans for a commercial insurance fee, designed to protect the taxpayer from risk.