David Prosser: Time for Mandy to expand his empire?

Outlook Just how involved with the chaos at GM Europe is Lord Mandelson? The Business minister claims to have been in more or less constant contact with all the players in this saga over the past few months, including the US parent company, the prospective bidders for its Vauxhall and Opel operation in Europe and the German government.

However, on Wednesday, Lord Mandelson was confidently predicting that the bridging loan GM Europe was hoping to secure from the Germans would be forthcoming. He also said the German government was not ready to start eliminating bidders from the process. On both counts he was proved wrong.

It's a worry if the Department of Business is not as well informed on GM Europe as it should be. Lord Mandelson has also said that he has received assurances from all the bidders for the business about British jobs. Is that incorrect too?

Some in the manufacturing sector are beginning to wonder whether Lord Mandelson's department is up to the job of fire fighting on so many different fronts in this recession. It's not that there aren't decent staff at the department, but that there may not be enough of them.