Help for car makers slow, says Mandelson

* Lord Mandelson wanted faster action * Bank of England in driving seat * Land Rover get 27 million grant...

Help for car makers slow, says Mandelson

Business secretary Lord Mandelson has said he wished talks between the Treasury and the Bank of England to help the car industry had 'gone quicker'.

Car makers have been lobbying the Government to help their finance arms provide loans for car buyers.

Lord Mandelson also hinted that it was the Bank of England that was responsible for slowing the process.

Mandeson said: 'Discussions are nonetheless making progress and I hope that it will be possible to help those car financing arms, because that goes hand in hand with our efforts to give a shot in the arm for the demand in cars.'

The Government has already put in place a 2.3 billion aid package to help the car industry, including 1.3bn from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

UK business minister Ian Pearson yesterday met industry representatives to explain what companies need to do to access the EIB cash and the 1bn loan-guarantee programme.

Pearson said: 'The automotive assistance programme is now open for business. We are determined that this scheme will deliver support as quickly as possible.'

Land Rover gets Government cash
Land Rover yesterday announced that the Government had given the company a 27 million grant to help build a new, greener Range Rover at the company's Halewood plant in Merseyside.

GM is also thought to have made an application to the fund to help develop its Ampera battery-powered car, which could be built at its Merseyside Ellesmere Port factory.