Car makers will LEAVE Britain if government does not provide financial support for switch to electric, market leader warns
- Jeremy Hunt said the UK will not compete with the EU or US green package
- Aston Martin’s boss warns carmakers would leave the UK without the aid
Carmakers could leave Britain if ministers don’t follow America and the European Union in helping with financial support for the switch to electric, an industry leader warned yesterday.
Andy Palmer, the former boss of Aston Martin, said it was ‘likely’ that carmakers would leave the UK without a huge subsidy package comparable to the billions in aid provided by the US.
Mr Palmer, now chairman of electric battery maker InoBat and who also held a senior position at Nissan, said the industry is facing the ‘final roll of the dice’.
It came as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the UK will not try to compete with the EU’s $369bn (£298bn) green package or US President Joe Biden. The policy provides subsidies for US companies that produce greener technologies, such as electric vehicles and renewable energy.
Mr Hunt said the UK’s approach to trying to attract investment ‘will be different and better’, and that it was ‘the British way’.
Andy Palmer, former Aston Martin boss, said it was ‘likely’ carmakers would leave the UK without a huge subsidy package similar to what the US is providing
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said UK will not try to compete with EU’s $369bn (£298bn) green package or US President Joe Biden
“We are not going to compete with our friends and allies in a disruptive global subsidy race,” he told The Times newspaper. “The long-term solution is not a subsidy but security.”
No10 doubled down on the comments, with the Prime Minister’s spokesman saying the UK “needed not enter a subsidy race because the UK has a head start with more than a decade of green investment”. He added: “We would say we acted ahead of the US in terms of our approach to reducing our carbon emissions.”
Rishi Sunak did not echo Mr Hunt’s language about the ‘distorting’ impact of the US subsidy package, highlighting the benefits of the UK’s approach to green technology.
Asked about the UK’s own strategy on a visit to Oxfordshire, he said: ‘People should be really proud of the UK’s track record in this area.
“We have decarbonized faster than any other major economy. Our CO2 emissions have been reduced by more than 40 percent, much more than in all other countries with which we compete.’
Carmakers could leave Britain if ministers don’t follow America and the European Union in helping with financial support for the switch to electric
Mr Palmer said the industry was under threat without a domestic support package to help manufacturers compete with those in Europe and the US.
He told the BBC that the UK car industry was already in ‘decline’ and had a ‘last chance’ to boost the industry’s transition to electric vehicles.
He said that not making subsidy packages as announced in the US and being consulted by the EU would probably cause manufacturers to go elsewhere.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Either you compete… or you manage the decline of British industry to almost zero.
“We’ve got the last roll of the dice to get some of that industry back, [or] we have to look for other work for the 820,000 people.’