Car trouble

A report by the Business and Enterprise Committee has attacked the government for its failure to deliver adequate support to the UK’s troubled automotive industry.


The study said that it was ‘profoundly disappointed’ by the delays to the Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP), which had been launched in February to aid crisis-hit car manufacturers.


According to the report, the £2.3bn scheme has yet to pay out any money in support of the car industry, fuelling concerns that the UK could risk losing its car industry skills and jobs to other countries.


The group of cross-party MPs said they were ‘astounded’ that Jaguar Land Rover, which announced 300 job cuts on Wednesday 16 July, had yet to receive the government’s loan guarantee needed to unlock the £340m loan approved by the European Investment Bank.


Peter Luff, the committee’s chairman, said: ‘The UK car industry has a large and diverse supply chain. But that supply chain is at great risk.


‘Though we welcome the intention behind many of the government’s measures to support the industry, there must be more sense of urgency, and a greater demonstration of support.’


The committee also expressed concerns over the coherence of policies towards the sector, saying that the government’s low-carbon approach should be part of a package that supports other innovative technologies, such as those relating to safety.


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 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.’