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Lord Mandelson to co-chair new Automotive Council

The Government has created an Automotive Council to strengthen engagement with industry and set a long-term plan for its development.

This follows the Government's endorsement of the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team’s (NAIGT) recommendations on the development of the sector over the next 20 years.

The Automotive Council is being co-chaired by ex-Ford boss Richard Parry-Jones and Lord Mandelson.

Invites are being sent out to senior automotive bosses but at the moment it’s unclear who else will be sitting on the council.

The council is expecting to have its first meeting before the end of the year and hopes to have all members appointed soon.

Following this announcement Rob Foulston, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), said: "This is a positive step forward for the retail motor industry and we welcome this move, a coherent strategy for the industry can only be good news. 

"The UK retail motor industry alone employs some 600,000 people and has an annual turnover in excess of £70 billion; as a result the industry is strategically very important. Improved skills at all levels within the UK motor industry is critical and will be a key driver of growth in the years ahead."

The Government set out points the council will have to tackle:

  • Automotive Council – a senior level council with representation from government and industry to oversee the development of a co-ordinated strategic approach to the sector.
  • Test Bed UK – active support for a major demonstrator programme for ultra-low carbon vehicles.
  • Supply Chain Council – feeding into the Automotive Council and focused on the development of a strong automotive supply base in the UK.
  • Strategic support for automotive research and development, through the NAIGT’s technology roadmap.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: "Government support for the NAIGT’s key recommendations signals a fundamental shift in the relationship between industry and government.

"It is an explicit recognition of the strategic national importance of the UK motor industry and its role in generating jobs and prosperity for the long term.

"Industry is operating in a challenging environment but I am confident that as global growth returns we are well placed to exploit new and exciting opportunities."

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