Automotive Industry Calls for Stronger Industrial Policy







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: March 14, 2012
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Speaking today at a TUC Parliamentary briefing, SMMT stressed that a formal Industrial Policy was essential to the long-term success of UK plc and the growth of the economy. Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, spoke of the need for a robust, internationally recognised policy that delivers long-term certainty for UK businesses and international investors.

“Growing manufacturing and rebalancing the economy must be national priorities for all parts of government and all political parties,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT’s Chief Executive. “We need the State to play its part in growing manufacturing by publicly declaring its commitment to create an environment in which manufacturing can prosper.”

Discussions acknowledged that UK automotive is an established success story with a long heritage of achievement. “Over the last 20 years, the country’s automotive sector has developed into a global leader for R&D, productivity and quality that exports its products around the world,” said Everitt.

Parliamentarians heard that a long-term approach is required to provide the certainty and security that international investors need to commit funding to the UK. Areas such as low carbon technology were cited as opportunities the UK could benefit from as a result of being a large, open market that welcomes international collaboration and investment.

Voicing the concerns of the industry, SMMT explained the need for government to ensure the UK is internationally competitive and that an Industrial Policy, that looks beyond the length of a single Parliament, is crucial to achieving global recognition and respect.

UK automotive represents around 3% of total GDP, accounts for two thirds of total manufacturing turnover and is the country’s largest sector in terms of export, generating around £24 billion in revenue. Typically achieving a turnover of around £50bn, employing over 700,000 people and producing an annual net value-added to the economy in excess of £10bn, the significance of the sector cannot be underestimated. Each year the industry spends around £1.3bn on R&D in the UK.

About SMMT:

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media.

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £49 billion turnover and £10 billion value added. With over 700,000 jobs dependent on the industry, it accounts for more than 10% of total UK exports and invests £1.3 billion each year in automotive R&D. Since 2000, huge strides have been made to reduce the environmental impact of its products throughout the life cycle. Improvements in production processes mean that since 2000, energy used to produce vehicles is down 28%, water use has been cut by 40% and 78% less waste enters landfill sites. Average new car tailpipe CO2 emissions have also been slashed and are down 23% compared with 2000 to 138g/km CO2.