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Treasury considers plan to rescue key companies

Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover may get support

The Treasury is ready to rescue large British companies whose failure because of coronavirus would have a devastating impact on the economy.

A number of firms including Jaguar Land Rover and a number of airlines are in talks to obtain support over and above the schemes already put in place.

Concern is growing that some big firms are still in difficulties even after making use of these options.

The bailout plan, named “Project Birch”, was mentioned by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in Parliament last week when discussing the future of the aviation industry.

It could involve the state taking stakes in companies, although extending existing loans would be preferable.

A Treasury spokeswoman said: “We have put in place unprecedented levels of support to help businesses get through this crisis.

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“Beyond that, many firms are getting support from established market mechanisms, such as existing shareholders, bank lending and commercial finance.

“In exceptional circumstances, where a viable company has exhausted all options and its failure would disproportionately harm the economy, we may consider support on a ‘last resort’ basis.

“As the British public would expect, we are putting in place sensible contingency planning and any such support would be on terms that protect the taxpayer.

On Saturday, Sky News reported that Tata Steel, Britain’s biggest steel producer, had approached both the Welsh and UK governments for financial aid that could run into hundreds of millions.

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