Looks like the motor industry is next in line for bail-out
We've been covering the effects of the recession on the West Midlands automotive industry in some detail in the Post, prompted by suggestions that Jaguar Land Rover has asked the Government for loans to help it get by while the banks refuse to lend.
These aren't loans to subsidise losses the business is making. They would be probably be extremely short-term deals designed to replace the credit which helps keep the complicated automotive supply chain moving even when times are good.
Dudley South MP Ian Pearson, a Business Minister, seemed to drop some pretty heavy hints today that the cash would be forthcoming, telling MPs: ""We recognise as a Government that the UK automotive industry is of critical, national importance."
The Government is already helping the motor industry, he said, but added: "There is a case that says we need to do more, and we are actively considering this at the moment."
This isn't the type of thing you say if you are about to tell a business like Jaguar Land Rover to get lost. There were no pointed comments about the need to spend taxpayers' money wisely, for example.
After the bail-out of the banks, the car industry may be next.
Even more interesting in some ways was a suggestion by Alistair Darling, at a Select Committee hearing, that the Government would not have let MG Rover go under if the company ran into difficulties today.
In 2005, when the Rover crisis actually happened, the economy was strong and affected workers had a good chance of finding jobs elsewhere, he said.