The chair of the All Party Parliamentary Motor Group has urged politicians of all parties to back the automotive sector - and backed plans for a EU-US Trade Deal.
Launching the group’s annual report, Richard Burden (Lab Northfield) said more than £6 billion had been invested by global vehicle manufacturers in the UK automotive industry over the past two years.
Based on the group’s discussions with parliamentarians, ministers, and the industry over the last year, the report called for all parties to unite around a Government-backed automotive strategy.
It also said the Government must sustain investment, and leverage significant overseas opportunities such as the EU-US Trade Deal – to ensure that UK automotive can seize opportunities for future growth.
The report, Fuelling Ambition: Investment and Strategic Direction for UK Automotive, says the Government needs to support the industry to respond to changing driving trends and habits with analysis, accurate and transparent data and further investment.
To expand the UK automotive sector’s success overseas the Government should focus on securing deals with priority markets, such as the EU-US Trade Deal, and reducing other barriers to trade.
Mr Burden said: “Just two weeks ago, the world’s racing drivers returned to Silverstone for what turned out to be a thrilling British Grand Prix. While our exceptional British drivers have had mixed fortunes on the track this season, for me the return of Formula One to our shores is always an ideal opportunity to recognise British success in automotive more widely.
"Our prowess for car building is not just exclusive to motorsport. The automotive industry happens to be the country’s largest sector in terms of exports, generated £6 billion in inward investment last year and employs over 700,000 people in jobs ranging from design, repair and ultra low carbon innovation. The perception that UK car manufacturing is in decline is certainly worth questioning.”
He added: “We can’t be complacent. Protecting and strengthening the automotive sector for the future requires concerted action. Our report highlights that there are new opportunities and challenges - such as the ‘peak car phenomenon’ and low carbon innovation - that require government’s focus and investment by industry now to ensure the sector can maximise growth.
“As is the case in Formula One, a driver is only as good as the team around him. For the automotive industry to continue excelling the Government must continue to play a central part.”