'Deeply precarious situation'

Government failure to back UK manufacturing fuelling drop in car figures

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Unite has demanded the UK government act now to support our automotive industry following a further 14 per cent fall in annual car production figures for 2019.


The figures which were compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturing and Traders reveals that 1.3m vehicles were produced in 2019. It was the third year in a row that there has been a decline in production.


Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said, “These latest figures expose the deeply precarious situation our automotive sector is currently in. Facing a perfect storm of uncertainty over our future trading arrangements with the EU, steep market declines following President Trump’s use of trade sanctions as a tool of foreign policy, and the transition from combustion engines to electric vehicles to address the climate emergency.


“The car industry is the jewel in the crown of UK manufacturing, essential to regional as well as our national economies and the prosperity of communities throughout our nations. Its decline is not just impacting car plants themselves but an extensive automotive and logistics supply chain,” he added.


“The UK will be denied a successful automotive industry unless the government steps up and takes manufacturing seriously to create the environment for it to thrive.”


“The automotive industry is being skewered by the government’s twin failure to provide long-term solutions on trade and to support the transition to electric vehicles.


“Now that we are leaving the EU we must turn rhetoric into policy and ‘take back control’ with action. While we need frictionless, tariff free trade with the continent as soon as possible, we also need government to step up and start backing UK Plc. This is essential for markets, but also to ensure that manufacturers can make the long-term plans and invest urgently in plant and equipment alongside new models,” Turner went on to say.


“Manufacturing matters and it is critical that there is significant and swift government support for investment in a just transition to electric vehicles, UK based supply chains, including battery and powertrain manufacturing and the public infrastructure essential to boost confidence in our future as a global leader in the sector.”


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