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Union hopes UK will rescue JLR

Source: PTI
December 24, 2008 18:33 IST
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Expressing satisfaction at Indian conglomerate Tatas' move to pump in money into Jaguar Land Rover, the head of the UK's biggest union Unite, Tony Woodley, has said he expects the Gordon Brown government to offer financial aid to the luxury car maker.

Tatas-owned Jaguar Land Rover has witnessed a sharp decline in sales and has asked for government assistance. Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, was quoted in The Times as saying there was little reason for the government not to act, now that the "Jaguar-Land Rover owner, Tata Motors of India, had injected more cash."

According to reports, the car maker has received tens of millions of pounds from its Indian owner, which would help the company to stave off an immediate cash flow crisis.

"I am delighted that (the Tatas have) put more financing into the company. It is obviously right that they do so, having bought it only nine months ago. I would now be extremely surprised if the government did not give financial support to the company as well and I would be very surprised if it wasn't this side of Christmas. I would be disappointed if there was not confirmation of the availability of a loan or credit guarantees at least," the daily quoted Woodley in a report published online on Wednesday.

However, senior Whitehall sources say that a bailout is unlikely to come before Christmas, it added.

The Times noted that a sticking point is believed to be the willingness of the Tatas to open their books. "Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, was said to be 'playing hard-ball' with the company on this issue," it added.

"About 40 million pounds worth of bills are thought to have been due for payment on Tuesday and it is understood that this is why an immediate cash injection from (the Tatas) was required," the report pointed out.

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