The UK government has spent more money than it should on supporting some banks. Now it comes to the car industry the cupboard is bare, and competition rules are applied.
Meanwhile, the German government is in the drving seat on the General Motors discussions, apparently willing and able to assist.
If there are fair rules to prevent subsidy and intervention in the EU, they should have the same effect on the German and the UK governments. As a long standing critic of government equity support for UK banks, I am not suddenly an advocate of equity support for Vauxhall. As a believer in avoiding subsidy and finding solutions to industrial and banking problems which will produce stronger businesses in the longer term, I am worried that one government is leading the way on the GM Europe disposals and ours is fighting from the side lines. The UK government must make sure a Vauxhall factory is not lost through politics.
Grants and aid for new technology and for green purposes are allowed within the common rules. Short term support against proper security may be permissible in some cases. If there is any kind of common market that works, both Germany and the UK should have a place round the table, and should be operating under the same pro competition framework.