Motortrades Insight Magazine Online

Richard Burden MP on 'Driving Success' - the new vision for the UK's motor industry

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Published: 6 August 2013

In addition to granting us some beautiful weather, Summer 2013 has also shone a light on one of the brightest industries the UK has to offer – automotive. On 12 July 2013 ‘Driving Success’, the first ever comprehensive industrial strategy for UK Automotive, was launched by Government and leading industry bodies.

Driving Success defines an ambitious new vision for the future of the motor industry. Over the past few years there has been a growing recognition of the importance of this sector for UK jobs, growth and innovation. We know that the UK industry has attracted over £6 billion of inward investment since 2011, supports over 70,000 jobs and produces a car every 2 seconds. In an industry that took a big hit in the recession, and has faced the huge expansion of manufacturers in emerging markets such as China, UK automotive is rightly celebrated.

The new Strategy is about ensuring this success story has a long term future. Having had a long term parliamentary and personal interest in the industry, I know that we face significant hurdles to overcome to keep UK Automotive world leading – and I’m glad to see the Government and industry tackle these head on with four main pillars of action.


british apprentice
Firstly, the Strategy addresses the fact that we can’t rely on fossil fuels to power our vehicles forever. The Government and industry are now set to invest a massive £1 billion in innovation to research, develop and commercialise low carbon technology for the future.
 
Action on improving the supply chain and skills development are rightly at the heart of the Strategy. These issues are of huge importance for small and medium sized businesses up and down the country – who need the support of Government and industry leaders to grow, and need a pool of properly skilled and qualified individuals that they can recruit.


I am hugely pleased to see the Strategy pledge an additional 7,600 apprentices over the next five years. I will continue to call on the Government to ensure that such apprenticeships are supported by the right education and skills training, and actually reduce the staggering levels of youth unemployment that we see in places like my constituency in Birmingham.


british apprentice
Lastly, the Strategy aims to create an enabling environment for UK Automotive, to ensure it stays competitive in the global market. After the All Party Motor Group urged the Government to ensure businesses across the motor and manufacturing sectors can access finance back in 2012, I am particularly pleased to see the inclusion of new actions for the banking and finance sectors here.

But perhaps most importantly, it’s crucial that the strategy is not be left to sit on a shelf. It needs to be fully funded and implemented over a 20-30 year period to become a reality. As Chair of a cross-party group of MPs active on motor issues, I am encouraged to see that Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians support the vision and implementation of the Strategy.

Regardless of who wins in 2015, Driving Success represents a long term commitment to UK Automotive. And rest assured that as summer moves in autumn, the All Party Group will maintain our watchdog role to ensure the Strategy drives action.


Richard Burden is the MP for Birmingham Northfield. He chairs the all-party motor group in Parliament, which seeks to address issues of strategic importance to the UK automotive industry and promotes dialogue between politicians, the industry and vehicle users.  Follow @RichardBurdenMP on twitter.

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