Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk unless the motor industry receives financial aid from the Government ‘within days’, a union leader has warned.
The comments put Prime Minister Gordon Brown under renewed pressure to help the industry in the wake of the US administration’s decision to provide billions of dollars in loans to its own troubled carmakers.
President George Bush said allowing firms such as Ford, Chrysler and General Motors to fail would not be ‘a responsible course of action’.
US car firms will get $13.4bn in short-term financing from a $700bn Wall Street bail-out, followed by another $4bn later.
The Financial Times reported that a British Government offer of assistance was also imminent.
Lord Bhattacharyya, a Labour peer and industrial expert, told the newspaper he was confident the Government would arrange ‘fairly soon’ a package of loans to help the sector and was discussing it already.
Jaguar Land Rover
The package being discussed, he thought, amounted to £667 million to help Jaguar Land Rover in addition to an unspecified sum for other car companies.
Derek Simpson, joint leader of the Unite union, urged the Treasury not to delay any longer in providing short-term financial assistance to the UK industry.
‘Government must establish a strategic funding mechanism for the car industry within days, not weeks,’ he said. ‘It is simply no good bailing out the banks if the banks won’t then bail out business.
‘Only action by the Treasury in the next few days will safeguard the tens of thousands of jobs and the many communities across the country depending on car manufacturing for their livelihoods.’
© Press Association 2008
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