UK Car Industry calls for more support


UK Car Industry employers and unions have called for Government support saying jobs are at risk.

What are they saying?

Following a survey of their members, the lobby group SMMT* have announced;

  • One third of auto industry jobs are still on the government furlough scheme
  • One in every six jobs are at risk of redundancy
  • 6,000 job cuts have already been announced

The SMMT are asking the UK Government for more financial support for the car industry, including further access to government funding, VAT decreases, and Business Rate reductions.

According to Mike Hawes of the SMMT;

“UK Automotive is fundamentally strong. However, the prolonged shutdown has squeezed liquidity and the pressures are becoming more acute as expenditure resumes before invoices are paid. A third of our workforce remains furloughed, and we want those staff coming back to work, not into redundancy.

Government’s intervention has been unprecedented. But the job isn’t done yet. Just as we have seen in other countries, we need a package of support to restart; to build demand, volumes and growth, and keep the UK at the forefront of the global automotive industry to drive long-term investment, innovation and economic growth. Support delivered now is an investment in the future of one of Britain’s most valuable assets… investment that we will repay many times over.”

The car industry union, Unite, also supported these proposals.  According to Steve Turner of Unite;

“The industry is battling to cope with the consequences of collapsed demand due to the pandemic alongside ongoing challenges posed by Brexit and our future trading relationship with the European Union.
A vehicle replacement scheme should be considered as part of a much wider intervention to assist the industry and any such scheme must promote cars built in the UK or it could unintentionally further damage the UK’s car production.
UK car workers are crying out for a programme of transition to electric vehicles but to make this a success the government has to invest in the sector, UK component supplies and the infrastructure. This will, in turn, help to stimulate demand.
If the government is serious about electric vehicles then it must also provide investment and support for the development of a good-sized electric commercial vehicle in the UK. The failure to produce such a vehicle in this country is a huge missed opportunity.”

Sources & Notes

* The SMMT is the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, representing UK car industry manufacturers and associated companies.