10 000 car jobs lost in six months

Nearly 10,000 UK car industry jobs have been lost since the government announced its automotive assistance programme in January, according to figures published by the Liberal Democrats.

The party said the figures related to government statistics of notifications of proposed redundancies received between January 1 and June 18.

Liberal Democrat business spokeswoman Lorely Burt said: "The car industry has been knocked for six by the recession. Since the start of this year 10,000 UK jobs have gone.

"Six months ago the government trumpeted a £2.3 billion automotive assistance programme that would help 'green' UK car manufacturing and secure jobs. With not a penny paid out so far, the only colour British car workers will be seeing is red.

"Ministers need to explain their lack of action and deliver on their promises to provide assistance."

Meanwhile, only 31 per cent of motorists think the "cash for bangers" car scrappage scheme, in which the government is investing £300 million, is an acceptable use of government money, a survey by consultancy GfK Automotive revealed today.

Of the 1,112 drivers polled, only 9 per cent said the scheme was "definitely" a good use of public money, while 22 per cent said it was "probably" a good use, with 42 per cent saying it was either "definitely not" or "probably not".

Only 31 per cent thought the scheme would help the environment, but 67 per cent reckoned the car industry would benefit.

As many as 94 per cent of those surveyed knew the scheme existed but only 43 per cent reckoned there was enough information available on how it worked.

A spokesman from the Department for Business said: "We recognise that the past year has been extremely difficult for the car industry globally as well as in the UK.

"The government is committed to supporting the sector through the downturn and a move towards a low carbon economy.

"A short-term boost for the industry has been provided by the government's scrappage scheme and long-term assistance through the Automotive Assistance Programme.

"The scrappage scheme has seen over 134,000 orders since it was launched and Nissan has been recruiting more workers to cope with the extra demand as well as announcing £300m investment for a battery plant in Sunderland.

"Toyota has also said that it plans to produce a new hybrid car in the UK safeguarding jobs. The government has also promised support for both these new projects which demonstrate that the UK car industry has an exciting future."

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