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JAGUAR LAND ROVER A "SPECIAL CASE" FOR AID

05-01-2009

Land Rover

Birmingham’s Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with its counterpart in Liverpool in a campaign to win government aid for Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover, arguing that company is a “very special case”. They warn that 800,000 UK jobs in the motor industry are at risk without state intervention.

The two business organisations are calling for taxpayers cash to be spent on saving JLR’s plants in Solihull and Castle Bromwich, as well as Vauxhall’s (US-owned) factory in Ellesmere Port – but insist it’s not a “bailout.”

They claim the back of local papers including the Birmingham Post and Mail and the Liverpool Echo.

Chief Executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jerry Blackett released a statement saying: “This is an important initiative by the media in both cities and we feel it is important for their business communities to lend support.

"Government aid for the car industry is essential at this stage but we underline that this is not a bail-out but cash flow support.

"This is a very special case because 800,000 jobs are at risk if the UK car industry fails.

"The UK car industry cannot be compared with the woes of the US car giants. They are 20 years behind modernising their industry to produce cars that meet the needs of consumers and the environmental agenda.

"And the problem goes much further than that. If we lose the research and development assets that sit in companies like JLR and Vauxhall they would be lost for good. There would be no chance of recovering them.

"Any cash flow help from taxpayers should come with strings attached. We want to see JLR advance even quicker with its investment in green technologies plus an emphasis on skills development and apprenticeships.

"We would also expect Tata, owners of JLR, to be the first port of call for any finance. However, if their competitors in the US, UK, Spain, Sweden, Germany and Japan are receiving subsidies then they would be at a competitive disadvantage if they did not receive state aid.

"We would not want to see the public sector taking a long-term ownership in the car industry and any state intervention should be short-term and targeted. Any longer term involvement should have a clear exit strategy."

Liverpool Chamber’s Chief Executive Jack Stopforth added,: “This campaign is very welcome. The car industry is not alone in needing help but we believe that this is a very special case.”

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