The strong likelihood that the government will assist Jaguar Land Rover with loan guarantees — which, in turn, will allow it to provide finance to customers who want to buy its products, and to support its suppliers through the most difficult of times — is likely to bring more important and lasting benefits than mere money, I believe. This whole process has required the Top People in government — Mandelson and Brown, plus the many civil servants who support them with research and run things from the back-rooms — to take a good, long look at the true value of the quality car industry to this country’s overall industrial fabric and see it for the priceless generator of high tech know-how and export earnings that it is. As this is written, the government hasn’t actually come forth with the hoped-for loan guarantees, but there seems little doubt that it will. The whole thing is being orchestrated: Tata Motors has to scrape together whatever “millions” it can afford first, so that the contribution of government loan guarantees can be portrayed — and quite rightly — as a move of last resort. Why does JLR need so much money right now? Because as CEO David Smith told Autocar in a recent exclusive interview, the next few months will the riskiest of the whole recessionary cycle for the labour and supply chain because the companies have no alternative but to make even fewer cars than they can sell for a period, while they sell off the cars they have already stockpiled. Once stocks reach a lower level, operating the companies will be more affordable and orderly, though it will be far from easy. However, the major benefit from the forthcoming government intervention, besides the money, is the fact that the government has now decided that JLR really matters to Britain. David Smith claims our legislators had little perception of these things, even three months ago. The new information should stand the companies in good stead as new low-carbon legislation is formulated for the future, because it will be more likely to be framed to do no needless harm to the UK industry: Bentley, Rolls, Lotus, Mini and the low-volume makers, as well as Jaguar and Land Rover. It’s an important step forward.