JLR seeks government pandemic package worth over £1 billion, say reports


The Jaguar-Land Rover production plant in Solihull. (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Jaguar-Land Rover production plant in Solihull. (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

JAGUAR LAND ROVER is in talks with the UK government for a “£1 billion-plus” pandemic support package, according to British media reports.

Britain’s largest carmaker, owned by the Tata group, has reportedly submitted a bespoke loan package request to ministers in recent weeks. The request is said to be for temporary state funding, with the loan request lodged with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, headed by Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

According to a Sky News report, JLR has sought a package worth over £1 billion.

A JLR spokesman said: “Jaguar Land Rover [is] constantly in discussion with government on a whole range of matters relating to Covid-19, and we will not discuss details which are confidential and private.”

The Sunday Times reported recently that the government had  been exploring plans to become a lender of last resort to key companies, including JLR, which could entail the state extending loans that could convert into shares.

The Treasury plans to set up a “bad bank” or “asset resolution” fund to hold stakes in companies that it may end up part-owning.

The West Midlands luxury car giant employs around 40,000 people, with the vast majority in the UK, and supports a large number of suppliers.

Its sales fell 31 per cent in the first three months of the year amid the lockdown and it was forced to halt production in the UK, putting staff on furlough, until restarting work amid social distance rules at its Solihull factory last week.

There are also concerns around the Tata Group’s other major asset — the Port Talbot steelworks — with the company thought to be considering shutting one of its two blast furnaces.

The Indian steel major had earlier sought a £500-million loan from the government to support its south Wales site, which employs about 4,000 people. That request is also believed to be under the government’s consideration.