Sunday, 14 December 2008

UK Auto bailout?

What do they want us to do?

Like I remember back in the day the Tories introduced the fuel duty escalator, which pumped up the price of petrol, and Labour continued it, so we ended up paying stupid money for petrol. It was "to stem the increase in pollution from road transport and cut the need for new road building" to cut Joe Public's car usage.

And now the British public can't afford to own cars for other economic reasons, the government are considering bailing out the British motor industry.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has been tipped to make loan guarantees available to the finance arms of car companies and is understood to be mulling whether to grant low-cost loans to the industry – funded by the £400bn set aside to support the banking industry.

Lord Mandelson held fresh talks with Ratan Tata, head of Jaguar Land Rover's owners Tata last week and also met executives from Vauxhall.

A spokesman for the Department for Business would not comment on any specific details but said: "The Government is monitoring the situation at the moment. Ministers have said they want to do all they sensibly can to help viable businesses. The automotive industry is facing serious challenges at the moment and we need to support it."

Please, can we just let the existing failing businesses go bankrupt, and then put the bail-out money into new start-up companies who may or may not be able to do a better job?

None of the UK companies invented the Toyota Prius or the Smart Car, but given a bit of helpful encouragement new start-ups could make the next generation.

In fact, fuck it. Here in the middle of my post I'll change my mind. Let the bailout go ahead as long as the money goes to folk like Tesla in Norfolk, who if given a bit of helpful encouragement, will make uncle Boris's electric car.

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