LDV: the bailout has failed, it’s time to nationalise

Hundreds of jobs are in jeopardy at van-maker LDV and its suppliers after the company went into administration yesterday.

The firm was going to be bought out by Westar, a company based in Malaysia, after being owned by a Russian oligarch who is a friend of the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

Mandelson had agreed a five million pound bridging loan, but Westar is unable to raise funds, and the deal has collapsed.

For the workers at the company and its suppliers in Birmingham, the last few months have been incredibly stressful – like thousands of workers at Vauxhall’s plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port, they fear unemployment and the heartache it brings to families.

As soon as I heard that the company would be taken over by an overseas firm, I feared that the result would be the outsourcing of production – in other words, factory closures here in England.

This cannot be allowed to happen, either at LDV or Vauxhall.

There’s no reason why the government can’t step in like it did with the banks – here there are sound economic and environmental reasons for acting. As I’ve said before, there will be a market for fuel efficient vehicles once demand picks up, and if the productive economy is not rebuilt we will suffer a decline in living standards.

Short of nationalisation, these auto firms could be converted to cooperative ownership, with the government providing a loan out of the billion set aside to help the car industry.

Workers at Visteon showed the way forward by occupying their plants to demand justice. This is the only effective course of action open to workers at LDV and Vauxhall.

Organise, occupy, nationalise!