Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 13:20 UK

Land Rover loan 'to be approved'

By Joe Lynam
Business correspondent, BBC News

Jaguar, Land Rover logos
Staff at Jaguar Land Rover have been working a four-day week

Jaguar Land Rover will get approval for a loan of £270m (300m euros) from the European Investment Bank on Tuesday 7 April, the BBC understands.

According to government sources, the firm has met the loan criteria.

A loan of £364m (400m euros) will also be split between Nissan's plants in Sunderland and Spain, bringing the UK total to £455m (500m euros).

Jaguar Land Rover said it could be a number of weeks before any cash was handed over.

Sources at the company were more cautious, stressing that whilst they were confident the money will be approved, they did not want to assume it would.

Greener technology

If the EIB loan is approved by its board when it meets in Luxemburg, it would then need some form of government guarantee before any monies were disbursed.

They add the deal is likely to be approved by the board of the EIB when it meets in Luxembourg next week.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has set aside £2.3bn (€2.5bn) in support for the car industry which is mostly made up of loan guarantees as well as direct aid to car makers.

The criteria for any EIB loan require car makers to invest in new greener technology to lower emissions during vehicle production and driving.

The car industry has been particularly hit by the recession with UK sales down 22% and car production plummeting 59% on the same time last year.

Jaguar Land Rover cut 450 staff in January 2009 and are seeking further 300 salaried redundancies from its 14,500-strong UK workforce. Some 50,000 British jobs are dependent on the firm.

Staff are essentially working a four-day week following an agreement with trade unions. Hourly-paid employees are working a 35-hour week and a pay freeze has been agreed on the guarantee of no compulsory job cuts for two years.

Based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, it employs about 15,000 people in Castle Bromwich, Coventry and Solihull in the West Midlands and Halewood, Merseyside.

Some 12 million people are employed in the European car industry, including 800,000 workers in the UK.

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