An offer Jag can refuse
The Business Department has made an offer to Jaguar Land Rover that it rather hopes will be refused.
Last Friday it said it would provide the carmaker with a guarantee for a short term loan of £175m from the European Investment Bank.
What was described by officials as the government's "final offer" has been designed to help the carmaker fill a hole in its finances between now and the end of the year, to help it over the credit-crunch hump (so to speak).
Separate from that, the Government is also considering providing much more substantial longer term financial help, so long as Jaguar furnishes it with a business plan that makes sense.
But here's the thing.
Because Jaguar is owned by the giant Indian conglomerate, Tata, ministers are not persuaded it really needs the money.
So it has imposed very onerous terms on the short term money - such as a 15 per cent fee, a requirement that the government appoint a new chairman, and influence over Jag's employment and investment plans.
Broadly what ministers are saying to Tata is: "we think you have deep enough pockets to support Jaguar Land Rover on your own; but we may be wrong, so we're going to make you pay an arm and a leg to test you".
Some may think it's odd that after six months of negotiations, there's still apparently very little trust between the government and Tata.
And if Tata doesn't take the loan on these terms - and tonight I'm told it's minded to reject the offer - the hard-balling ministers may feel vindicated.
Except that Tata may choose to conserve cash by sacking a fair number of Jaguar's 14,500 employees and significantly reducing more than £500m of annual investment in research and technology that's pretty valuable to the UK.
Which would make the controversial loan rather pricier - for the nation.