Automotive assistance programme a dead duck

The governments much heralded “automotive assistance programme” which was launched in January has yet to dispense a single penny in “assistance” to anyone. The programme is supposed to give a government guarantee to loans taken out by the automotive industry so the lender knows most of its money is safe.

But the minimum size of the loan is £5m and a report by the business and enterprise committee argues this needs to be lowered urgently to £1m so that smaller companies can be helped. It warned the government that if it does not get its strategy right it runs the risk of car industry skills and jobs being lost to other countries.

Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, said: “This report hits the nail on the head. More than seven months on from the establishment of the automotive assistance programme, we are yet to see a penny paid out to car and components companies.

“The committee says it is astounded that it is taking so long to help to companies to save jobs and skills. Sadly, we’ve gone past being astounded and are beginning to get very angry that good people are losing their jobs while government departments shuffle paper.”

We tend to agree with Mr. Woodley. We reported back in March that Motor industry representatives were having “talks” over the government’s £2.3b support package.

There was some concern back then that no money had been forthcoming but Mr. Woodley, who was part of the delegation meeting Business Minister Ian Pearson, was more upbeat at the time, saying;

“We know the government have some good ideas about how to support manufacturing and the car industry through this recession,”

“Our concern has been to ensure that we get this support, which is desperately needed right through the supply chain, out as fast as is humanly possible.” he said.

Well here we are another four months down the line and still no “assistance” from a programme that has the word “assistance” in its title, so we must presume it’s been an abject failure.

You honestly couldn’t make it up with this government but then with this type of nonsense, you don’t have to.

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