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Economy Economy

Support aero and automotive industries to grow further

Last updated: 02:09pm 23 September 2019

Some industries have a great history. We believe they can have a great future too. We have already demonstrated that in advanced manufacturing, such as aero and automotive engineering, we can lead the world. We will continue to support these key industries so that they can grow further.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.21

Our verdict

With a combined turnover of more than £100 billion annually, the aerospace and automotive industries are important to the UK economy. The government pledged to “continue to support” companies that build planes and cars to ensure their growth into the future.

In January 2018 the government released The Automotive Sector Deal which resulted in the government and industry investing “about a quarter of a billion pounds to develop and manufacture electric vehicles […] as well as £80 million for” a new battery development facility in Coventry, which received a further £28 million in 2019 as part of the first local industry strategy.

In December of 2018 the government released The Aerospace Sector Deal which pledged £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for the Future Flight programme (an amount the industry would match). This, again, concentrates on a demand for cleaner, more environmentally friendly aircraft, which might operate autonomously in future. It also introduced greater coordination and collaboration between academic institutions to this end.

In contrast, in February 2018, Honda UK announced it would close its Swindon plant by 2021, with Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan also cutting production and jobs. There are multiple factors behind these cuts and closures, such as ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and a new trade deal between the EU and Japan in February 2018, allowing for zero tariffs on cars exported from Japan. Falling Chinese demand has impacted Jaguar Land Rover, and electric car sales have taken off, leaving some companies needing to repurpose manufacturing plants.

Despite closures and a slowdown in the sector’s growth, the government have delivered on their promise to “continue to support” aero and automotive industries. We are therefore marking this as ‘done’.

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