Ford in Bridgend - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:24 pm on 10th June 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 6:24 pm, 10th June 2019

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for the benefit of his experience on this issue. I very much agree that we are dealing with a global situation; this is not simply about Europe or Brexit. I accept that there are Brexit issues relating to the economy, but the far more important issue here is the move away from diesel and petrol towards low-emission vehicles and the growth of markets in China and India in particular.

On strategic responses to this issue, we have the automotive sector deal and we committed £250,000 to the Faraday challenge on battery storage, which is important. A couple of weeks ago, I had the great privilege of going round Northern Industrial Battery Services Ltd in Welshpool, which is significantly attached to what BEIS is doing and provides a useful glimpse into the future. We need to move towards battery storage and low-emission vehicles, which is a large part of why the automotive sector has seen this period of turbulence. That turbulence has not been limited to this country, of course: as I indicated, this is going on pan-Europe. I take seriously what the noble Lord, Lord Howell, says, but I assure him that we are very much there.

I should add that we are investing in infrastructure in the low-emission and electric sectors. I am sure that, like me, noble Lords have noticed a greater prevalence of battery-charging in our cities now.