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July 8, 2020

Little joy for autos in UK stimulus package

The UK automotive industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it was disappointed with the UK chancellor of the exchequer's GBP300bn post-virus stimulus package announced on Wednesday (8 July) because there was little to aid the sector.

By Olly Wehring

The UK automotive industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it was disappointed with the UK chancellor of the exchequer’s GBP300bn post-virus stimulus package announced on Wednesday (8 July) because there was little to aid the sector.

Measures announced by Rishi Sunak did include a GBP1,000 bonus for each worker companies bring back from furlough and employ through to January 2019 and a “kickstart scheme” to directly pay firms to create jobs for 16 to 24 year-olds, as well as cash for businesses to take on trainees and apprentices.

Other measures were aimed at the housing, hospitality and energy sectors.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said in a statement: “Today’s announcements to safeguard jobs and encourage consumer spending in some parts of the economy are welcome – but it’s bitterly disappointing the chancellor has stopped short of supporting the restart of one of the UK’s most important employers and a driver of growth.

“The automotive sector has been particularly hard hit, with thousands of job losses already announced and many more at risk.

“Of Europe’s five biggest economies, Britain now stands alone in failing to provide any dedicated support for its automotive industry, a situation that will only deter future investment.

“We urgently need government to expand its strategy and introduce sector specific measures for UK auto to support cash flow such as business rate holidays, tax cuts, and policies that provide broader support for consumer confidence and boost the big ticket spending that drives manufacturing.

“Until critical industries such as automotive recover, the UK economic recovery will be stuck in low gear.”

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