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Chancellor Sunak pays tribute to automotive industry but SMMT calls for more ‘stability’ from government

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak says automotive industry is ‘incredibly important for the UK economy’
  • Conservative says more than £2.5bn has been invested to help transition to zero-emission vehicles
  • Critics unhappy at minister’s pre-recorded keynote speech to SMMT Summit, which last under two minutes
  • SMMT boss calls for government to provide industry with more stability

Time 1:10 pm, June 28, 2022

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has paid tribute to the automotive industry for how it handled the pandemic but SMMT boss Mike Hawes has issued a plea for the government to offer more stability.

Sunak, 42, said the motor trade was ‘incredibly important for the UK economy’ and ‘one of the most innovative sectors’ during a keynote speech to the SMMT Summit.

The minister drew criticism from some on social media after his pre-recorded message lasted less than two minutes.


He told the audience of automotive leaders ‘the Government is doing more to support you’ saying that £2.5bn had been invested into supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles since 2020.

‘We’ve committed around a half billion since 2020 to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, introduce favourable rates of vehicle excise duty and company car tax rates for ultra low emission vehicles and we’re doing much more,’ he said.

‘I want to say an enormous thank you because even in the face of global challenges, the automotive sector is incredibly important for the UK economy, one of the most innovative sectors in our economy.

‘Around £1 in every ten of all private R&D (research and development) investment in this country comes from you the automotive industry.’


‘We’ve committed around a half billion since 2020 to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, introduce favourable rates of vehicle excise duty and company car tax rates for ultra low emission vehicles and we’re doing much more.’

‘Investment needs stability’

In his own speech to the gathered crowds, SMMT CEO, Mike Hawes, said instability was having a negative impact on the industry.


He pointed to issues surrounding Brexit as a major sticking point and called for further investment into ‘new jobs, new skills and new businesses’.

He said: ‘The Chancellor has recently been critical of business for a lack of investment. But investment needs stability. It needs trust not uncertainty.

‘For years business, especially automotive, operated with the uncertainty of a referendum, stalling trade negotiations, the threat of no deal. There are now uncertainties around Protocols. Investors will take note. They will pause, but investments are made in a small window. They will not and cannot wait forever.

‘The TCA [Trade and Cooperation agreement] has been critical in releasing investment. In the year following the deal, £4.9nn was announced for Sunderland, Ellesmere Port, Halewood and elsewhere. Billions pledged for new technology, battery facilities, new zero emission models.

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‘But we must unlock further investment, into new jobs, new skills, new businesses. To do this, Government must do all it can to create stability, to help keep us competitive, especially during this storm.’

He added: ‘We want to keep the UK at the forefront of the global automotive industry. Exporting around the world, fostering innovation, delivering for the economy and supporting well-paid jobs right across the country.

‘To do so, we must remain globally competitive.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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