UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt has pledged £2 billion of support to industry for zero-emission investment in the UK’s automotive sector in the next five years.
The money, announced by Hunt in his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons today (22 November), will be part of a wider £4.5bn support package in “strategic manufacturing sectors” before 2030. The government said the funding was targeted at the “UK’s strongest, world-leading sectors” and would help those sectors remain “at the forefront of the global transition to net zero”.
Hunt said: “For our advanced manufacturing and green energy sectors, international investors say the biggest thing we can do is announce a longer-term strategy for their industries.”
He said the overall £4.5bn funding would “leverage many times that from the private sector and in turn will grow our economy, creating more skilled, higher-paid jobs in new industries that will be built to last.”
The £2bn for zero-emission investments in the automotive industry “has been warmly welcomed by Nissan and Toyota”, Hunt said.
Nissan’s Sunderland plant currently produces the Qashqai, Juke and the electric Nissan Leaf. The firm is currently building its EV360 battery factory at the site, which has the potential to produce up to 35GWh of batteries each year – around a third of the capacity the UK is expected to require by 2030.
Toyota’s factory at Burnaston, Derbyshire, is currently home to the hybrid Corolla, although the longer-term future of the site has been discussed by senior executives at the firm. Earlier this year, Matt Harrison, Toyota’s Europe chief operating officer, cited a lack of battery plant investment in the UK as the biggest challenge being weighed up as it evaluated future EV production at the site.
Autocar has contacted Nissan and Toyota for comment.
Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “The UK is a global hub for advanced manufacturing, with world-leading automotive, aerospace and maritime sectors. This package builds on recent investment wins, such as the £4bn gigafactory, and the £600 million invested to build the next generation of electric Minis, and ensures that the government can continue to help create jobs, grow the economy, and secure the future of great British manufacturing.”
Government investment was key to JLR (formerly Jaguar Land Rover) parent firm Tata choosing to site its new battery factory in the UK.