Brown refuses to dismiss motor industry bailout

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown today refused to rule out a bailout for the UK motor industry during a visit to a secondary school intended to highlight the Government's public spending programme.

Yesterday Nissan UK announced it was cutting 1,200 jobs at the UK's biggest motor plant in Sunderland.

Today at Isambard Community School in Swindon, when asked if a bailout for the industry was on the cards, Mr Brown said: "What we're talking about is help for an industry where there's been investment taking place, such as in electric and high technology, for energy efficient cars, and what we're also looking at with the car industry is the credit system."

Mr Brown was greeted by more than 400 screaming schoolchildren as he was shown around the well-equipped, new-build secondary school in the north of Swindon - a city which is home to a Honda factory.

He was introduced to a maths and IT class, where he chatted to the children about their favourite subjects and was interviewed by two 11-year-olds as part of a media project.

Unveiling a commemorative plaque in front of teaching staff, the Prime Minister highlighted the Government's £40bn investment programme for 2009 that is central to his plan to restore economic growth and create 100,000 jobs.

He has set out Government plans to spend £21.9bn on school capital projects between 2008 and 2011 - a sevenfold increase on 1996/97.

Since 1997, more than 1,100 schools have been built or rebuilt - 13 of them in Swindon alone, where the next couple of years are set to see a further £50m spent on school buildings and facilities.

After leaving the school in Swindon, Mr Brown continued with his regional tour and boarded a First Great Western train to Newport.

While on board, the Prime Minister met children from Wootton Bassett School's film club.

The nationwide initiative, funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, involves children meeting to discuss a variety of films they have watched together.

The group of 10 children, plus teacher Fiona Aicken, chatted to Mr Brown about his favourite films, and movies they had recently watched.

The Prime Minister told them his favourite film was Cry Freedom, set in apartheid-era South Africa, and directed by Richard Attenborough.

The children presented Mr Brown with a gift of three DVDs - violent urban Brit-flick Bullet Boy, Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life and striptease comedy The Full Monty.

The Prime Minister left the train at Newport, where he was expected to head on to Cardiff.