Government in bail-out talks with Jaguar

The Government is in emergency talks with Jaguar Land Rover over a state-funded bail-out plan. Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has confirmed that discussions were in play, but warned that he did not have an “open chequebook”.

Mandelson says it is too early to judge whether state help would be needed for Jaguar Land Rover, and stressed that the West Midlands-based firm’s Indian owners Tata had the “first responsibility” to ensure its survival.

It is thought that instead of a direct cash injection by the Government, aid is more likely to come in the form of loan guarantees that would allow the company to get access to credit so it can pay its employees wages.

Indian group Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover in June for £1.72bn. The carmaker employs around 15,000 workers in the UK and has already cut shifts at its plants due to the sharp decline in demand for its vehicles. Last month it laid off 850 shift workers at its West Midlands plant.

Mandelson says there will not be a “great long list” of industrial rescue packages but is believed to be sympathetic to the car industry.

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