£1bn investment to boost auto industry

enginemfg300As part of a strategy setting out how the UK can secure the long term future of the automotive industry over the next 20 to 30 years, the government and automotive industry have announced a £1 billion investment in an Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to research, develop and commercialise the technologies for the vehicles of the future.

Backed by 27 companies in the sector, including supply chain companies, the commitment is expected to secure at least 30,000 jobs currently linked to producing engines and create many more in the supply chain.

Last month Vince Cable announced the setting up of the Automotive Investment Organisation, headed up by Joe Greenwell, the former chairman of Ford of Britain, to lead on attracting inward investment in the UK. Over the past three years, just over 7,500 jobs have been created or safeguarded in the automotive supply chain through foreign direct investment. It was announced today that the Automotive Investment Organisation is aiming to double this figure to more than 15,000 jobs created or secured over the next three years.

The strategy also outlines some of the challenges the sector faces including the need for a skilled workforce. Industry members of the Automotive Council and its working groups expect to recruit more than 7,600 apprentices and 1,700 graduates over the next five years.

The Technology Strategy Board launched a £10 million competition today that could see successful projects fast tracked for commercialisation through the Advanced Propulsion Centre. Businesses are being invited to bid for support on innovative collaborative low carbon vehicle projects.

Welcoming the announcement, SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said the motor industry fully supported the approach outlined by Business Secretary Vince Cable and would work closely with him and through the Automotive Council to enhance further the UK as a globally competitive location for automotive investment.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, said the automotive strategy’s strong focus on technology and supply chains was positive as it was key to expanding capacity and competitiveness.

At the CBI, chief policy director Katja Hall said the strategy “set out a bold vision for long-term growth right across the automotive sector, which is at the front line of the drive to rebalance our economy”.

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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