UK government must follow Spain’s ‘time critical’ support for auto industry

Commenting on the Spanish government’s £3.3 billion support package for the country’s automotive sector, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said:

“Spain has followed France and Germany in providing time critical support to keep their automotive industries on the road and playing their part in meeting the need to switch to low and zero carbon transport. 

“But in the UK, we’re now nearly three months into the government’s lockdown and our world class automotive industry and the thousands of jobs that rely on it are in need of immediate assistance – as the 1,100 JLR jobs that went yesterday highlight.

“Ministers must stop sitting on their hands and take action now with a package of support for the sector. This must include new vehicle discounts and incentive schemes, infrastructure investment and transition grants to support the manufacture of electric vehicles here in the UK and in line with industry approved proposals by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

“It is imperative that sales to public sector fleet replacements are brought forward, private fleet early renewals encouraged, and individual owners incentivised with discounts on new sales of all vehicles. 

“Additional grant support should be targeted at electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as for low emission diesel and petrol engines, ensuring revenue streams are protected to allow for vital investment in future technologies.

“Government must move beyond the soundbite to ‘take back control’ of how we spend taxpayers’ money. Public procurement policy should prioritise the purchase of UK built vehicles, supporting further investment in domestic supply chains and infrastructure. Tens of thousands of good, skilled jobs are at risk.

“With a clear plan of action these jobs can be retained and enhanced, our towns and cities can be cleaned up and the nation’s road transport system made fit for a green future.”