Gareth Jones, president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has urged the Government to maintain investment and support in the UK’s automotive industry ahead of its Spending Review.
The Chancellor will reveal his Autumn Statement and Spending Review later today and it is expected to detail £20 billion of cuts to Whitehall budgets and £12bn to welfare.
Jones said: “While the UK’s productivity is falling behind that of global competitors, in automotive we excel.
“We have the best record in Europe and our productivity has increased four times faster than the UK average. How? Sheer hard graft, hard won investment and a culture that demands continuous improvement and innovation.”
According to the SMMT, the automotive industry has delivered £15.5 billion to the UK’s economy this year.
However, he added that there are also major challenges to overcome, including a referendum on whether the UK leaves the EU, a skills shortage and tomorrow’s Spending Review, with cuts expected across government departments, including those that help smaller businesses enter new markets around the world.
He also called on Government to recognise the serious challenges faced in the automotive supply chain which is severely affected by exchange rates, higher energy and business costs.
Jones said: “So much has already been invested successfully and to pull the rug away now would be a devastating waste.
“It’s a stark reminder that while our industry is a net exporter, the export deficit for parts sits at almost £8 billion. However, with the right support, re-shoring to the UK is possible – and with £4 billion of potential growth, the benefits are worth it.
“We have shown Britain has what it takes to be a manufacturing powerhouse again. But we can’t do it alone. So we say to Government: Create the conditions that allow us to develop the quality products for which we are world-renowned.
“Back us to create the jobs, economic growth and prosperity that Britain needs. We have shown we can deliver; work with us to make sure that success continues.”