SMMT: pros and cons from Spring Budget

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has responded to yesterday’s Spring Budget by saying the £270m government support for electric vehicles, biotech and artificial intelligence is positive news.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘The automotive industry is investing significantly in new technology to address the issue of air quality, so we look forward to working with government to encourage the uptake of the latest, low emission vehicles, regardless of fuel type.

‘Nearly one in two new car buyers chose a diesel last year and getting more Euro 6 diesels on the road will be part of the solution as we also strive to meet our climate change targets.

‘Measures to reduce congestion will help as will funding announcements for the design and development of battery technology. The UK is Europe’s number one electric vehicle market, but consistent and long term government support is essential if we are to retain this position.’

He continued, ‘UK Automotive plays a critical role in the country’s economy but future success will depend upon maintaining competitiveness. It’s disappointing, therefore, that the Chancellor hasn’t prioritised additional funding for supply chain development, nor addressed the flaw in business rates that disincentivises investment in plants and machinery.

‘On a more positive note, the focus on technical education is welcome, as we seek to fill the 5,000 vacancies that exist in our sector and invest in skills to improve productivity still further.’