SMMT Urges Next Government to Continue Automotive Support
More than a fortnight after the much famed scrappage scheme came to an end and two weeks before the general election, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published a “manifesto” urging the next government (whoever they will be) to continue support for the UK automotive industry.
Directing its plans squarely at the next government, SMMT outlines the key issues that will affect the UK motor industry in the near future and advises on policy direction to maximise the industry’s potential. The automotive sector is a vital part of the UK economy with a turnover of £52 billion, exports amounting to 10 per cent of the UK total and supporting over 800,000 jobs and is at the forefront of low-carbon technology.
“The UK motor industry has managed to sustain vital industrial capability through the recession and is now looking to exploit a strengthening economic recovery,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “The UK has a great opportunity to strengthen its automotive supply base and capitalise on the transition to ultra-low carbon vehicle technologies. The next government must commit to continuing the work of the Automotive Council and actively support measures to improve skills, encourage more investment in R&D and re-build business and consumer confidence,” he continued.
Key measures the SMMT is lobbying for include: proactive engagement from government to “ensure that home-grown suppliers are strengthened and internationally competitive” and targeted incentives to attract further automotive related research and development spending in the UK. Referring to the latter, SMMT suggests the next government should make the UK R&D tax credit system more flexible by providing immediately payable credit on a temporary basis. The automotive industry reportedly spends £1 billion a year on research and development in the UK.