Automotive industry leaders have reacted positively to the Government’s announcement of a £4.5 billion Advanced Manufacturing Plan (AMP) to boost UK businesses.
The AMP, launched today by Kemi Badenoch, Business and Trade Secretary, in the wake of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on November 22, will see more than £2bn earmarked for the UK’s automotive manufacturing industry.
It comes off the back of securing significant recent investment of £2bn from Nissan, £600 million from BMW and £4bn from Indian company Tata, which will set up its first gigafactory outside its home country in the UK that will make batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
A further £975m is set aside for the UK aerospace industry, while the remainer of the new fund will go to companies working in the clean energy and life sciences sectors.
Up to 100,000 jobs in battery manufacture
Ms Badenoch said that the AMP would provide up to 100,000 highly paid and skilled UK jobs in the battery sector alone, as part of a “battery strategy” comprised of £50m worth of newly allocated funding.
The AMP money will be key to industries as they look to decarbonise as part of the global transition to net-zero carbon emissions.
Measures in the AMP should improve the business environment in the UK, helping to attract further investment in our manufacturing industries, provide faster grid connections, and set up more apprenticeships.
Ms Badenoch added: “The UK recently overtook France to become the world’s eighth-largest manufacturing economy. The AMP will build on that success by targeting funding at where we have a competitive advantage.
“Industry wants a stable, long-term plan that has support for cutting-edge technologies and a trade policy that delivers. The AMP does precisely that, securing the highly skilled jobs of the future and driving economic growth.”
‘Full throttle to back British businesses’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We are going full throttle to back British businesses and make the UK a world leader in manufacturing – which already makes up more than 43 per cent of all our exports and employs 2.6 million people across the country.
“Today’s plan will not only give the industry the long-term certainty they need to grow and invest further in the UK, but it will also lay the foundations to create more jobs and opportunities for people across the country.”
The Government said that for every pound of investment it has pledged for the future of UK manufacturing, another £5 of additional private sector investment is leveraged.
Some of the main thrusts of the AMP include the creation of a new “hydrogen taskforce”, which will focus on the UK manufacturing of hydrogen propulsion systems.
Hydrogen will form a key part of the UK’s future net-zero strategy and a target of reaching 10 gigawatts (GW) of production capacity by 2030 has been set, with at least half coming from electrolytic or ‘green’ hydrogen.
Interestingly, this announcement comes just weeks after Toyota confirmed it was abandoning hydrogen as a fuel source for its passenger cars, instead choosing to focus on using its technology in this field for commercial-vehicle applications going forward.
Elsewhere, the £50m battery strategy should build resilience in UK supply chains in the future, while a number of tax cuts for trade announced by the Chancellor aim to reduce the costs and barriers to UK business.
Automotive businesses welcome the AMP
Industry leaders in the automotive sector were warmly receptive to the announcement of the AMP. Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Decarbonising road transport is essential if net zero is to be achieved, and that transition must be ‘built in Britain’. The Government’s AMP sets out measures to support the UK automotive supply chain as it undergoes the most significant transition in its history.
“The plan, together with a new battery strategy to support the development and production of this critical technology, is essential if the UK is to compete in the face of fierce global competition. These initiatives can only help to attract the investment necessary to seize the growth opportunities a net-zero economy offers.”
Richard Kenworthy, the managing director of Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, added: “We welcome the announcement of a new AMP and the priority the Government is giving to the automotive sector.
“Our industry is undergoing a significant transition as we make the changes and investments required to secure a zero-carbon future. It is important for manufacturers to continue to work together with the Government to deliver on this goal and ensure the global competitiveness of the UK automotive industry.”
And Guillaume Cartier, chairperson for Nissan Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania, said: “We welcome the AMP for the long-term approach presented for the UK automotive industry. It addresses a number of important topics that will support our wider electrification strategy as we move to 100 per cent electric vehicles, and also with the demands we’re seeing from consumers for cleaner, smarter, safer cars on the roads.”
A statement from Jaguar Land Rover said: “JLR welcomes this package of investment and policy announcements for the advanced manufacturing sector. The AMP and UK battery strategy is an important first step, and we look forward to working with the Government to create the right environment to ensure an innovative and internationally competitive sector.”
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