Press Report : Mandelson denies HMG interference in JLR

Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Post, 15th July, 2009

Peter Mandelson denies government interference
Peter Mandelson denies Government interference

The Government has never tried to interfere in the management of Jaguar Land Rover, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has insisted. He denied claims that attempts to impose a Government-approved chairman had blocked efforts to rescue the West Midlands-based firm.

Lord Mandelson has come under fire for launching a high-profile scheme to help firms such as JLR obtain credit, which has failed to help a single business in the seven months since it began.

In April, the Government announced it had agreed guarantees allowing JLR to borrow £340 million from the European bank but the money failed to emerge, amid reports that Ministers had made a series of unreasonable demands. It was claimed that Ministers had imposed conditions that Jaguar’s Indian owners Tata could not accept, such as the right to choose JLR’s Chairman and have a seat on the board.

However, speaking to journalists in Westminster, Lord Mandelson insisted this wasn’t true. He said: ‘It is not about getting involved in the running of the company. We do not want to have a say in who the Chairman is, who sits on the Jaguar board, or who the Chief Executive is but we do need to be confident that the taxpayers’ money that goes into Jaguar will come back out again – that the taxpayer won’t be left high and dry.”

Tata Group was responsible for restructuring its business, he said.

[Source: Birmingham Post]

Clive Goldthorp

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