Mandelson’s support package for car industry gets mixed reception

Business secretary Peter Mandelson’s announcement of a possible £2.3 billion of support for the car industry has received a mixed reception.

Mr Mandelson, who is now controversially in his third spell in the Cabinet, intends to unlock loans of up to £1.3 billion from the European Investment Bank and free up a further £1 billion to promote investment in green-friendly vehicles.

He told the House of Lords: "This industry is not a lame duck, and this not a bailout."

The action plan could have a big impact on the used-car market which depends on a steady production line of new cars to stock its showrooms and forecourts.

Mandelson’s newly-appointed opposite number in the Conservative party, Kenneth Clarke, described the "panic-stricken" measures as "insufficient".

Liberal Democrat shadow business secretary John Thurso said: "These plans have a number of worthy crumbs of comfort for the car industry, but are neither strategic, principled nor comprehensive."

Mr Thurso doesn’t believe that the industry will be "particularly happy" with the loan guarantees.

Written by Ken Tofu


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