Government will leave ‘no stone unturned’ in efforts to keep Vauxhall plant open
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The government is reportedly committed to ensuring that Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port car factory stays open as parent company Stellantis considers its closure.
The site in Cheshire currently supports thousands of high-skilled jobs but could be shuttered, Stellantis has said, if it is not provided with enough incentives.
While it is considering manufacturing electric vehicles there, it wants financial aid for future EV battery manufacturing, and commitments on the post-Brexit trade of automotive components such as batteries.
Labour peer Lord Woodley, who had previously worked at the plant before becoming a union leader, said the government should “leave no stone unturned” in its attempts to keep the plant open.
“Finalising the agreement with Stellantis to manufacture not one but potentially two next-generation battery-driven vehicles is crucial, securing thousands of high skill jobs for Ellesmere Port and our country,” he said
“Battery vehicles are the future for this industry, if it is to have any future at all.
“I would suggest it would be unforgivable if government missed the opportunity of this investment and to secure the jobs for our country.”
With the UK set to ban new diesel and petrol cars by 2030, electric vehicles are expected to become an important part of its future transport network.
But Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares has signalled that the ban effectively stopped future investment in conventional vehicles in Britain which has led him to reconsider whether Ellesmere Port was worth keeping on as a manufacturing entity.
Responding to Lord Woodley, business minister Lord Callanan said: “We will indeed leave no stone unturned and I can assure him the Government is committed to securing the future of Ellesmere Port.
“The business secretary, his senior officials, are engaging frequently with the company to explore ways to ensure the plant stays open.
“While those discussions are ongoing I can’t comment further, but we will indeed do all that we can.”
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Monday that “intensive dialogue” with Stellantis would be ongoing in the coming days and weeks.
“I’m very hopeful that we can reach a satisfactory conclusion in terms of the continued investment and support for Stellantis,” he told parliament.
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