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Car industry seeks Government help - UPDATE

Ministers held "recession summits" with the UK car industry on November 27.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Retail Motor Industry Federation and representatives from the automotive sector concluded their meeting with the secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, Lord Mandelson.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT, told AM: “It went reasonably well. We updated them with where we are and the list of things that we want to happen.

“We ran through various items but the two main focus points were on access to finance and stimulating demand for new cars.”

The SMMT presented examples of how banks are not freeing up finance for businesses and has been tasked with providing more examples to Government in the following weeks.

While another official date has not been set for a follow up meeting with Mandelson, Everitt said that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Everitt said the Government and industry agreed to explore a range of solutions collaboratively in a "timescale that matches the urgency of the situation".

Industry calls for help

The SMMT and RMIF wrote to chancellor Alistair Darling last week seeking short term financial help and policy measures to help the industry.

Manufacturers calls for help will initially be assessed by business secretary Peter Mandelson.

Any decisions for state intervention will be fed into the revised industrial policy being drawn up by Mandelson.


Support measures proposed are:

 · Allowing manufacturers’ finance companies access to the funding available
to banks through the special liquidity arrangements. This would allow them to support customers and their franchise networks.

· Scrapping plans for increased VED and new first year rate. This would
provide a strong signal to buyers and help to improve residual values.

· Increased capital allowances for fleet buyers, particularly for buyers of
commercial vehicles, to stimulate immediate demand.

· Shelve plans for reform of business car capital allowances, as overall
impact and timing is unhelpful.

· Remove expensive car restrictions under capital allowances to help demand
for UK higher end manufacturers.

And, manufacturing support to include:

· National arrangements to allow manufacturers and suppliers access to loan
facilities, including potential government guarantees, to maintain liquidity and investment.

· Help to speed up the allocation of existing funding to support training, R&D projects and energy efficiency measures. This would help upskill employees, accelerate innovation and provide an immediate stimulus for green collar jobs. 

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