Unite has rubbished Boris Johnson’s plan to ensure that no one will be further than 30 miles from an electric vehicle charging point as inadequate and accused the PM of being a “menace” to the UK’s manufacturing industries.
In a general election campaign speech at an electric car plant on Tuesday (12 November), Johnson pledged to spend £500m ensuring everybody in England and Wales would be within 30 miles of an electric vehicle charger.
Johnson also promised to double state spending for research and development over five years to create a “new wave of economic growth”.
Commenting, Unite national officer for automotive Steve Bush said: “Drivers will not invest in electric vehicles if they are forced to travel up to 30 miles to recharge – imagine having to drive that distance just to fill up your petrol tank. This is exactly the kind of off-the-cuff policy that has typified the Conservative’s failure to implement a joined up Industrial Strategy.
“Boris Johnson’s policies lack the coherence and ambition needed to give UK manufacturing the boost it needs to set Britain on a course to tackle the climate crisis.
“You only have to look at the Conservative’s shambolic handling of Brexit to realise that they are menace to the sectors who will lead the way in transforming the UK to a green energy economy. Just this week Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Brexit uncertainty made it ‘too risky’ to locate the firm’s first European electric vehicle battery plant in the UK.”
The new Telsa factory will be located in Germany. Musk had considered building the factory in the UK, but told German publication Auto Bild he had decided against the move because “Brexit made it too risky”.
In an earlier interview, Musk had also told Auto Bild that Tesla had plans to build an R&D centre in the UK.
However, the location of the site will now to be in Germany.
“We are also going to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin,” Musk told Auto Bild.
Unite national automotive officer Bush added that the best hope for the UK’s car making sector and other manufacturing industries is a Labour government.
“Labour will not only ensure Brexit does not damage the automotive sector, but will put it in the fast lane by investing £3.6bn in electric car charging networks and doubling the number of electric vehicles the Conservatives are planning by 2030,” Bush said.
“By fully embracing a green industrial revolution, Labour will provide a bright future for manufacturing communities across the country and take radical action to deal with the climate emergency.”