Announcement on future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant expected
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Workers at Vauxhall’s UK car factory are waiting for news about the future of the plant, with an announcement expected later on Thursday.
Talks have been held for weeks about the Ellesmere Port site in Cheshire, which makes the Astra, employing up to 1,000 workers and many more in the supply chain.
Stellantis, the new parent company of the business, has been reviewing its options for plants including Ellesmere Port.
Speculation has been mounting since Vauxhall’s French parent company, PSA, merged with Fiat Chrysler to form a new automotive superpower last month, fuelled by the forthcoming ban on new petrol and diesel cars.
If we are told that in 2030 internal combustion engines cannot be sold in the UK then we are not going to invest in internal combustion engines anymore because that makes no sense
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been involved in talks with the company.
Stellantis chief Carlos Tavares has said that governments can “create situations which destroy the business model”, telling a press conference: “If we are told that in 2030 internal combustion engines cannot be sold in the UK – which we respect as a decision from the country – then we are not going to invest in internal combustion engines anymore because that makes no sense.”
Analysts believe any decision will illustrate if the Government is serious about battery power, and green technology, which needs money investing in giga plants for batteries.
Union officials believe the UK needs at least seven battery plants to cope with the increasing switch to battery technology.
The best case for the UK motor industry would be a decision to make a new generation of electric cars at Ellesmere Port.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: “The Ellesmere Port plant is a major employer and winding it down would have devastating consequences, with 1,000 highly skilled jobs lost from the local community.
The Government must not simply stand by, because doing so risks worsening the unemployment crisis and dealing a huge blow to Cheshire and the automotive industry
“To support our automotive manufacturing industry and boost its competitiveness, Labour has called for ambitious investment in electric vehicle technology, including the electric battery supply chain, through a £30 billion green economic recovery. This investment would mean manufacturers have the long-term confidence they need to build new electric models in the UK.
“The Government must not simply stand by, because doing so risks worsening the unemployment crisis and dealing a huge blow to Cheshire and the automotive industry. They must act with real urgency to support our manufacturing industry and the jobs they provide.”
A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring the UK continues to be one of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing, and we’re doing all we can to protect and create jobs, while securing a competitive future for the sector.
“We regularly speak with all automotive companies, including Stellantis, but do not comment on ongoing discussions.”
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