Vauxhall and I – take a paid break?

We need a new green deal for the productive economy. Without state-support, much of the manufacturing sector will go bust, even with a weak dollar helping exports. Think “managed decline” speeded-up.

The car industry must be rescued – if we can nationalise failing banks, why not failing companies? Without a solid manufacturing base, the whole country will go bankrupt.

The News Line reports:

General Motors, the owner of Vauxhall, has put forward a plan for its Merseyside workforce to ‘take a break’ from two to nine-months from work on 30 per cent pay from January to September 2009.

The ‘sabbatical’ scheme was put to unions at its Ellesmere Port plant, Cheshire, on Thursday.

A Vauxhall spokesman said the number of staff who choose to take up the option will not be known until the New Year.

Vauxhall employs more than 5,000 workers in its plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton.

Vauxhall is already shutting down for a month this Christmas.

Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley has called for government assistance.

He said: ‘While it is clearly very disappointing that talks to secure financial assistance for the Big Three car manufacturers in the US have stalled, failure to reach a deal there must not mean a moment’s delay in this country.

‘The UK car industry is facing unprecedented tough times with the collapse of the financial market spreading vulnerability right through the supply chain and placing 40,000 jobs in jeopardy.

‘This must mean unprecedented intervention from government, just as it did with the banks.’

All Trade Unions Alliance national secretary Dave Wiltshire said: ‘The only way to save jobs and auto manufacturing is to nationalise the car industry.

‘Any factories threatened with closure must be occupied, until they are nationalised.’

Bank of Kent

Municipal banking?

The Fincancial Times reports:

Kent county council has submitted plans to the government to pool resources from local government bodies around the country into a public sector savings bank.

A number of local authorities lost access to millions of pounds of their deposits in Icelandic banks, and councils are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain private backing for local projects.

The proposed bank would use the local councils’ pooled deposits to offset their savings against debts and offer a safe haven for local government funds to invest in local government schemes. The proposal follows on from Essex county council’s plan to set up a bank to support lending to local businesses. Chris Cook

H/t: Richard Murphy