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Automotive Industry

Volume 663: debated on Tuesday 16 July 2019

Yesterday, the Prime Minister chaired a roundtable with automotive companies to discuss how the Government can best continue to support the industry through this period of unprecedented change. The Prime Minister announced a £500 million loan guarantee to support Jaguar Land Rover’s design, manufacture and export of the next generation of electric vehicles, with similar support also available to others in the sector. Through our industrial strategy and landmark automotive sector deal, we remain committed to keeping the UK at the forefront of new technological development.

I thank the Minister for that answer and declare that I am vice-chair of the all-party group for fair fuel.

The automotive industry is moving apace to ensure that it can help reach the Government’s ambitious targets for electric vehicles, but of course we need to have the infrastructure in place to supplement that as well. Will the Minister outline what his Department has done to help rural communities such as Angus with that?

Our UK-wide grant scheme and the £400 million public-private charging infrastructure investment fund will see thousands more public charge points installed across the UK, including in rural areas. Yesterday, the Prime Minister committed that all new rapid and higher-powered charge points will provide pay-as-you-go debit or credit card payment options by spring 2020 to enable access for all in the community. We will continue to monitor whether any significant gaps in infrastructure provision emerge in the medium term and will consider whether further support is required.

I very much welcome the announcements by JLR and BMW. The Minister will know that in the event of a no-deal, which I very much hope will not happen, we will face not only tariffs, but the implication of rules of origin. This was seen by BMW moving the manufacture of engines for South Africa out of Hams Hall in the west midlands to Germany. What discussions has he had with his colleagues in Government over the implications of rules of origin for future trade arrangements?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. He is right to say that the decisions by JLR and BMW about the electric Mini are votes of confidence in the workforce in the west midlands. However, we must prepare for all scenarios, and we are fully preparing for no deal and working with the industry to understand the potential impacts, including, as he says, the impact of rules of origin. We are determined to ensure that the UK continues to be a competitive location for automotive under any scenario. Alongside industry, we are investing almost £1.5 billion to ensure that we are at the forefront of new automotive technologies.