Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The British government has announced a £2.3 billion package of aid to attempt to support the country's car manufacturing industry.
Lord Peter Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform announced to the House of Lords that the government planned to obtain £1.3 billion from the European Investment Bank for the industry. A further £1 billion loan is available if the industry agrees to invest it in environmentally friendly vehicles.
Mandleson told the Lords that the industry is vital to the British economy, which with "near one million employees from manufacturing to retailing" provides "£10 billion worth of added value to the economy." However, he stressed that the government was not providing a "blank cheque" and would not provide operating subsidies.
His newly-appointed shadow Kenneth Clarke told the House of Commons that the plans were "pretty small beer" and repeated the Conservative charge that the government was "dithering" in the face of the downturn. Liberal Democrat John Thurso also expressed disappointment in the plans.
== Sources ==
"Mandelson unveils UK motor industry aid package" — The Herald (Glasgow), January 27, 2009
"Car firms get £2.3bn loan package" — BBC News Online, January 27, 2009
"Govt Unveils £2bn Car Rescue Plan" — Sky News, January 27, 2009