Mandelson unveils car industry package

Britains struggling car industry has joined banks in getting Government help but Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has denied the package is a "bail-out". He told the House of Lords the measures to support the auto industry would include guarantees to unlock loans of up to £1.3 billion from the European Investment Bank and a further £1 billion is to fund investment into green-friendly vehicles. Lord Mandelson said he was inviting regional development agencies and the Technology Strategy Board to research and develop programmes into cleaner engines, lighter cars and "plug-in hybrids". He also said that he had tasked new trade and investment minister Mervyn Davies to draw up plans for improving access of the car companies financing arms to additional funding. The Business Secretary said that the measures would provide the industry with a "significant boost" while helping to make Britain "a world leader in the development and manufacture of low carbon vehicles".