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Cheers - AE

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The best of times, the worst of times?

Unemployment may be at its highest level for nearly fifteen years, which is rough for the 2.5 million or so concerned (as well as all the ones that aren't working but don't count towards the unemployment figues) and pretty fucking grim reading alongside the news that much of the west is fucked and the UK in particular is even fucked-er than first thought. But it's not all bad news. Three quarters of a million people entitled to benefits, but not taking them.
Many are thought to be middle class professionals. A Government source was quoted as saying: “We are very keen to make sure we are reaching out to everyone who may find themselves without a job. That may include people who do not think of themselves as the sort of people who claim benefits.”
Has it not crossed their minds that these people may not wish to be reached out to, do not need the money, may be using their redundancy to get by and are preparing to start a new job or invest in a new project?
Couldn't have put it better myself. Having been there myself and also got by without help I take my hat off to the lot of them. If only rather more than 750,000 liked to think of themselves as the sort of people who don't claim benefits.

But it's not just individuals that prefer to rely on themselves rather than join the queue for handouts. Jaguar Land Rover is doing it too, which is great news when half the car makers in the world seem to be sucking ministerial cocks for money to prop up their ailing firms.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has rejected assistance from the Government and has found the financing from foreign banks needed to secure 14,500 jobs.

Ratan Tata, head of Tata Group, which owns JLR, wrote to Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, to say that the terms of the Government’s aid were “very onerous and hence unacceptable”.
Okay, to be fair here it is true that Jaguar Land Rover did ask for money, but decided to stop after unzipping the fly and taking a look at what it was expected to swallow in return for the cash.
Tata said yesterday it would secure financing from commercial lenders, thought to be mainly foreign institutions. The State Bank of India, part-owned by the Indian Government, is said to be providing guarantees.

JLR’s Indian owners are said to be baffled at the Government’s reluctance to offer help, given the large number of jobs at stake. The Government is thought to have been unwilling to bail out a private company and set a precedent for other troubled manufacturers.
Who cares? In an ideal world I'd prefer that governments didn't go baling out badly run businesses, and that JLR didn't feel the need to go running to the government in the first place but had the confidence in itself and its products. I confess to having always had a soft spot for Jaguar ever since getting a ride in a family friend's XJ12 some 25 years ago, and I would be saddened if the firm went tits up just when it's trying really new designs and getting a fair amount of praise for it. I saw an XF in the flesh for the first time a few months back, and if we hadn't both been doing 100 kph on the freeway I'd have been tempted to get out and lick it. It's not pretty from everywhere but it knocks its predecessor into a cocked hat if you ask me.

So well done and good luck to the 750,000 self reliant people who've decided against taking benefits and Jaguar Land Rover, despite having asked and also despite some tenuous involvement with the Indian government (which is, after all, the least inappropriate government to be involved in financing what's now a division of an Indian company) - in my book you all deserve to succeed. Now if you could all give some thought about what you should demand of the next government...

UPDATE: Wat Tyler thinks that many people aren't signing up for Jobseeker's Allowance because they think the Job Centres are a waste of time and hopeless for actually finding a job. Probably something in that.
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