UK automotive has a bright future ahead – but we must support it to achieve its potential


Representing a seat in the West Midlands I know how important the automotive industry is to the UK. Across the country it is an essential part of the glue that binds our economy together. The industry produces over one million cars every year and supports over 700,000 jobs.

This last year has been a critical time for the UK automotive industry. The economic downturn hit the industry hard. But as the economy emerges from recession, it is well placed to drive sustainable low-carbon growth and help rebalance the economy.

Over the last year the All-Party Parliamentary Motor Group (APMG), which I chair, has brought together parliamentarians, ministers, officials, industry representatives and trade unions to discuss key issues facing the UK automotive industry.

Today we are publishing a report based on our discussions over the last year.

The report, Driving growth: Future challenges and opportunities for UK automotive, looks at the challenges and opportunities facing the industry including investment, low-carbon technology, skills and growth.

We make four key recommendations to the government:

1. Government should ensure the UK is an attractive place to do business and invest by showcasing the automotive industry as a forward-looking, growing and progressive sector.

2. Government should look at both the economic and environmental opportunities in supporting the sector’s development of low-carbon technologies.

3. Government should outline how it plans to work with schools and colleges to make jobs in the sector more appealing and publish an action plan to demonstrate how it intends to work with automotive companies in delivering 75,000 additional apprenticeship places.

4. Government should strengthen its partnership with the motor industry to help re-balance the economy and ensure the industry achieves its potential as a significant driver of growth.

The report will be formally launched in the House of Commons today and has been submitted to government ministers, shadow ministers and the chairmen of the Business, Science and Treasury Select Committees.

The UK automotive industry faces many challenges in the coming years – but also has many growth opportunities. We must support it to ensure it achieves its potential as a significant driver of growth.

A copy of the report is available on the APMG website:

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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