Guest column for Motortrades Insight


I used my first monthly guest column for Motortrades Insight to recap on the breakfast I hosted in Parliament on the trade and export challenges facing the UK automotive policy makers. You can read my article online here – or below!

Chair Of The All Party Parliamentary Motor Group – An Introduction By Richard Burden MP

Welcome to my first column. I’m excited to start sharing my parliamentary perspective with Motortrades Insight, and the online automotive community. As a West Midlands MP with Longbridge in my constituency, an interest in automotive kind of goes with the territory, but it’s more than that. The automotive industry has been in my blood for as long as I can remember.

And when I say “automotive”, I don’t only mean the big car makers, vital though they are. I also mean the supply chain, retail and after-sales and the UK’s world-class performance engineering and motor sports sector. As someone who has dabbled in racing myself and remains a fan, the latter is something particularly close to my heart.

I chair the All Party Parliamentary Motor Group (APMG). We are a unique forum for open discussion between MPs of all parties, manufacturers, the industry and vehicle users. We regularly meet to discuss key issues facing automotive – from low carbon cars to skills and future driving trends. In May we met to discuss the international trading environment. The automotive industry generated a staggering £27 billion for the UK in 2011 – it’s the UK’s biggest earner in terms of exports by value. Even in today’s harsh economic climate, we are exporting a record number of cars abroad.

Over 100 different markets across the world are importing UK vehicles – but there is still much more to do. As the global economy becomes ever more interdependent and connected, we need to ensure that UK automotive companies, and the thousands of local businesses that contribute to the sector, get a fair deal.

David Frost from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) kicked off our meeting by outlining some of the Government’s trade and export priorities. These include navigating the complex web of trade agreements affecting the motor industry – from European Commission competition policy to the challenges and possibilities of new deals with emerging economies such as Korea and Brazil.

And, with those at the sharp end knowing the ongoing importance of the European market for our motor industry, we also heard well targeted pleas to politicians not to allow political knockabout over EU membership jeopardise jobs and inward investment in automotive here at home.

Automotive is a special industry in so many ways. And it’s vital to the future of so many of the people we politicians represent. For us its achievements are not only an inspiration, but a reality check for a political world that often needs one.

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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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