London: Tatas-owned Jaguar Land Rover has hailed the British government’s £2.3 billion ‘support package´ announced on Tuesday evening, even as the ailing auto industry exuded mixed response, but an opposition leader described the step as a “small beer”.
The newly-appointed shadow business secretary Kenneth Clarke, a member of the opposition’s shadow cabinet, said the package was a “small beer”, although Labour MPs in carmaking constituencies voiced cautious support.
JLR chief executive David Smith said: “The government has recognised the strategic economic importance of the car industry in the UK as a major provider of high-skilled jobs and a significant contributor to our balance of trade.”
The package though received general support from car manufacturers, left trade unions disappointed.
Trade union Unite’s general secretary Derek Simpson told the BBC he was pleased the government had made a start in helping the car industry but questioned if the loans would be enough.
“In the case of the car industry I suspect much more needs to be done,” he said.
The package, unveiled by business secretary Peter Mandelson, would offer guarantees to unlock loans up to 1.3 billion pounds from the European Investment Bank for making investments in lower carbon initiatives.
Further, the car industry would be getting £1 billion as government loans to fund investments in greener vehicles.