Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Ducks Specifics on Help for Nissan; 'We Will Do All We Can' Pledge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Ducks Specifics on Help for Nissan; 'We Will Do All We Can' Pledge

Article excerpt

Byline: William Green Political Editor

GORDON Brown yesterday said he wanted "to do everything we can" for the British car industry.

But the Prime Minister declined to tell what and when support could be provided for the ailing sector, which is suffering as part of a global sales slowdown.

The developments came after Nissan reduced production at its Washington plant and sent workers home early for their Christmas break.

Thousands of workers are employed directly at the factory and indirectly in the supply chain across the North East.

Industry chiefs have called on ministers to help ensure access to short-term loans and guarantee lending to see the sector through the economic downturn.

Speaking at No 10, Mr Brown said: "Yes, we want to do everything we can to help the car industry through these difficult times. I am not today going to make specific announcements about what we can do in any individual area."

The Prime Minister added: "It is very important to recognise that the first responsibility for the running of a particular company lies with the company itself.

"So, we are happy to debate these issues with the car industry but I am not able and I am not going to announce any particular decisions today." He praised the quality of British-built cars after being asked whether consumers should buy Nissan vehicles built in the North East.

Mr Brown said: "We have great British cars and great British models. And I have visited all the major plants in Britain at one time or another.

"And I am very proud of the professionalism and the expertise and indeed the quality of the models that are on offer in Britain."

The Prime Minister was also quizzed about Government talks with luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover - now owned by Indian firm Tata - during a press conference in Downing Street.

The Midlands-based car manufacturer had one of the "best" research facilities in the county, said Mr Brown.

But he said: "Different industries will have different problems at this time. …

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