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Industry bosses to press PM for more support

Leading motor industry figures are due to meet with the Prime Minister this afternoon to urge the Government to increase competitiveness in the UK and give a clear signal on its intentions concerning the euro.

Tony Blair and Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers will meet at 2pm today with the delegation that includes Nick Reilly, Vauxhall chairman and managing director, Tod Evans, Peugeot UK managing director, Ian McAllister, Ford of Britain chairman and chief executive and Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive.

The meeting is the first the Government has organised aimed at reassuring industry of its commitment to improving competitiveness and that it is addressing the criticism levelled at it by the Trade and Industry Select Committee last month which called for a demonstration of ministerial support for the UK vehicle industry.

An SMMT spokesman said topics raised were likely to include the future of Block Exemption, the implementation of the End of Life Vehicle Directive requiring manufacturers to recycle old vehicles, climate change levy and in particular the Government's position on the single currency. “We will urge the PM to make his position on the euro clear as soon as possible,” the spokesman said. “If the UK is to adopt it we want to know when and if it's not then we need to know so we can plan ahead.”

Accompanying Mr Evans, McAllister, Macgowan and Reilly are Mike Baunton, president of Perkins Engines, Richard Clowes, president of GKN Auto Components, Sir Ian Gibson, Nissan Motor (GB) chief executive, Kevin Howe, MG Rover chief executive, Graham Smith, Nissan (GB) managing director, Graham Broome, of the SMMT industry forum and Paul Everitt, SMMT head of policy.

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