My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy met with the Honda Executives in London on 18 February, just ahead of Honda’s initial announcement to close its Swindon plant on 19 February. The Secretary of State has chaired a taskforce consisting of local leaders, MPs and trade unions, to provide support to the workforce and businesses who would be affected by the loss of Honda’s plant in Swindon. Through the taskforce we are determined to work together to ensure that Swindon continues its record of attracting investment from advanced manufacturers, maintaining and creating highly skilled jobs that offer fulfilling careers for many years to come. That will include engaging closely with parties interested in future uses of the site in Swindon owned by Honda.
The Government supports the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector via a number of routes. Government has committed £274m to the Faraday Battery Challenge, and circa £80m in the last Budget to the Stephenson Challenge, newly named ‘Driving the Electric Revolution’. Together Government and industry have committed around £1 billion through the Advanced Propulsion Centre to support research, development and commercialisation of the next generation of low carbon technologies, keeping the UK at the cutting edge of low carbon automotive innovations. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation provides R&D support across a range of technology themes including low carbon, materials and manufacturing; and connected and autonomous vehicles.