Senior executives from across the automotive sector attended a reception at the House of Commons yesterday to explain the significance and diversity of the UK motor industry to new parliamentarians.
Organised by the SMMT and hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Motor Group, the event was attended by over 200 MPs and industry representatives including apprentices from nine global companies that manufacture vehicles in the UK.
Industry leaders, including McLaren Automotive’s executive chairman, Ron Dennis CBE, spoke to MPs about the sector’s economic importance and the opportunities for growth presented by the shift to low carbon transportation.
Providing the keynote speech, Dennis spoke of the world-class engineering skills located in the UK and the importance of continuing to attracting young talent to the industry.
“Over the next few years we must increase the proportion of the UK economy that relies on manufacturing, we must develop our competitiveness on the world stage and we must encourage greater foreign direct investment in manufacturing and engineering,” said Dennis.
“These goals can be achieved through a new collaborative approach by industry and government that focuses on education, R&D, participation in success and daring to be different.”
Speaking about the national importance of the industry, SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt said: “Every community around the country has links to the industry – 800,000 people work in it and hundreds of thousands more depend on it for their livelihoods.
"Automotive is a large, diverse and economically significant industry encompassing design, development and manufacturing as well as retail, distribution, service and repair."
Looking ahead at prospects for recovery and growth Mr Everitt added: “I am extremely proud of what the UK motor industry has achieved, not just its strength and resilience during the last two years but the way it has adapted and transformed itself during the last two decades.
"There are some really significant challenges ahead of us, but they are also opportunities to strengthen the UK economy, re-build UK supply chains and create long-term careers for a new generation of scientists, engineers and technicians.”
Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Motor Group, Richard Burden MP said: “The UK motor industry plays a significant role in the UK economy, manufacturing products that are exported across the globe.
"As the trend toward low carbon vehicles gathers pace, we have the opportunity to position the UK as a global leader both in terms of the vehicles we buy and the technology we produce, leading to long-term economic growth.”