The short answer is no, according to former chief strategist Lord Carter, who has reportedly said it is ‘not the Government’s role to ensure that businesses survive’ – a puzzling statement, considering secretary of state for business Lord Mandelson has made saving struggling businesses a top priority.
The Conservatives could hardly contain themselves over the comment, with shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond practically squealing with delight. “For all Labour’s rhetoric about helping businesses in the recession, it seems they couldn’t care less,” he beamed.
But is it really the government’s responsibility to make sure struggling businesses survive? Margaret Thatcher’s ‘iron’ rule practically wiped out the UK’s mining industry in the 1980s – but some would argue it was an outdated industry which was bound to go to the wall eventually anyway. So should our government sit back and do the same to what’s left of our manufacturing and building industries?
It’s a difficult call to make, but for Land Rover at least, it looks as if the government has decided to take the soft approach, promising them up to £27m to see them through the recession.
Very humane, but with this approach, we can only hope the end of the recession comes sooner rather than later – or the government money may just run out.