INVEST:Support vital, insist SMMT
Long-term strategic support is required to meet the ambitions of the forthcoming Automotive Sector Industrial Strategy, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have warned.
The warning comes as Chancellor George Osborne considers the next Spending Round, with the SMMT submitting to the Treasury for long-term funding.
Continued funding via the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) is essential to provide stability and economic growth, the SMMT claim.
Mike Baunton, Interim Chief Executive of SMMT, said: “The UK automotive industry is providing a significant boost to the UK economy, through strong new car sales, unprecedented levels of capital investment and rising manufacturing output.
“The drive to rebuild the UK automotive supply chain, increase automotive R&D, and bring innovative UK technologies to commercial maturity holds great potential for future economic growth and greater employment in UK automotive.
“To fulfil our potential and realise the short-term £3billion supply chain opportunity in the UK, automotive businesses and motorists need long-term continuity of government policy and support.
“The Chancellor has a unique opportunity to drive growth in a strategic sector for the UK economy, so it is vital that the forthcoming Spending Round supports our industry’s growth potential through investment, innovation, low carbon vehicles and skills.”
In addition to securing RGF and AMSCI funding, SMMT suggest the Chancellor should focus and increase public spending on innovation and R&D in key strategic technologies.
A spokesperson said: “Highly fuel-efficient, low carbon technologies have major growth potential for global automotive companies as well as UK suppliers, SMEs and innovators.
“Ring-fencing and securing an increased share of existing innovation funding on the five strategic technology areas identified by the Automotive Council will help secure a greater share for the UK in global automotive R&D spend and innovation capabilities.”
To support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles, the SMMT believes the Spending Round also needs to deliver continued funding for the Plug-In Car and Van Grants.
Since the Plug-In Car Grant was set-up in 2011, thousands of motorists have benefitted from the funding.
SMMT also urged the Chancellor to support the sector’s drive to increase its talent pipeline by continuing national support for skills and apprenticeships at all levels.
Image courtesy of Ben Sutherland, with thanks.