Automotive Sector

Business, Energy and Industrial strategy – in the House of Commons on 22nd February 2022.

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Photo of Ian Levy Ian Levy Conservative, Blyth Valley

What steps he is taking to help support the growth of the automotive sector.

Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

The Government support growth by offering the automotive sector certainty, by making clear statements about our intentions regarding petrol and diesel vehicles and by supporting investment, innovation and a resilient supply chain via a taxpayer subsidy through the automotive transformation fund and the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

Photo of Ian Levy Ian Levy Conservative, Blyth Valley

Following the recent announcement of £100 million of Government funding for Britishvolt in Northumberland, does my hon. Friend agree that this is only the beginning of the transition to a clean, green economy and that my constituents in Blyth Valley, as well as many others across the north, can look forward to a bright and prosperous future?

Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

I pay huge tribute to my hon. Friend for all the work he has done on Britishvolt, as a passionate advocate for his constituency. This will bring new skills, jobs and opportunities to Blyth Valley, and I congratulate him on it.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that he wanted British workers to be more like German workers. Let us be more like Germany: it has increased the number of manufacturing jobs by 1 million since 2010, whereas this Government have presided over a fall of 93,000 jobs. The difference is that this Conservative Government do not have a plan, whereas in Germany there is a plan for manufacturing. The Labour party has a plan in our country, too, so if Ministers really want to support manufacturing, why do they not use Labour’s plan to make, buy and sell more in Britain?

Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

I am not sure that Members on these Benches will take any lessons from a Labour party that decimated manufacturing between 1997 and 2010. Before the pandemic in 2019, we had seen an increase in employment in manufacturing, and the expansive and multiple investments in manufacturing announced in just the past few months—at Nissan, Stellantis and Britishvolt—demonstrate this Government’s commitment to manufacturing for the long term.