Ministers named electric vehicle battery maker British Volt as a prime example of government record for “securing business investment in the UK” just months before the scheme collapsed without public investment. I was using
The company, once known as Britain’s potential champion in battery manufacturing, fell into power last week after last-minute negotiations to find emergency funding to keep it going failed. Its demise has been criticized as showing the government’s lack of industrial strategy, the shortcomings of “leveling up” and the UK’s failure to grasp new manufacturing opportunities in the wake of Brexit.
But last summer it emerged that ministers were still using the British Vault as an example of the government’s ability to attract investment to the UK. In response to a request from a Tory MP for details on the government’s progress in securing investment, then-business minister Jane Hunt said the government would “not invest in his £1.7bn gigafactory at British Bolt.” provided further support to attract significant investment in the manufacturing sector, including provision of Bryce Valley will support 3,000 direct jobs and an additional 5,000 jobs across his chain of supply. ”
Senior British Bolt executives will be questioned as part of a parliamentary inquiry into the electric vehicle battery industry. It was about to build a large facility near Bryce, Northumberland, and had been promised government funding worth £100m, but the grant depended on finding a private investor for the project. .
Government officials have met with the company several times, but both the business unit and the Ministry of Finance have concluded that the company’s financial and operational performance does not make providing emergency assistance a good use of public money. Since then, there have been allegations of mismanagement and waste by the company, which executives deny.
This is embarrassing for a government that was trying to show its commitment to helping neglected areas by leveling funds. The collapse of the British Vault means there is currently only one large gigafactory planned in the UK, and that will be owned by the Chinese.
Some Tories are still hoping a new buyer for the company can be found, but most of the 300 staff were quickly laid off after a collapse in management last Tuesday. decided in October to end production of the electric version of the Mini in the UK. The Oxford plant will only build petrol models for the foreseeable future.
Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said the British bolt was once the government’s answer to ‘up-leveling’ poor communities on the outskirts of London, but is now a symptom of a wider problem. “This government has no industrial strategy, no plans to create more jobs in future industries, no plans to secure the investment Britain needs to grow.
“We need battery factories in the UK to keep making cars in this country. Labor has an industrial strategy, which includes a commitment to partial investment in eight gigafactories alongside industry. If we want to see investment in the UK, we need a government that will be the partner that businesses need.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the ministry will “provide significant support to British Bolt through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), contingent on achieving key milestones, including private sector investment commitments. provided,” he said.
“We had hoped that British Vault would find a suitable investor, but we are disappointed to hear that the ATF grant has not been paid as this has not been possible. Our thoughts are with the company’s employees and their families, and we stand ready to help those affected.
“The UK is one of the best places in the world for car manufacturing and we want the best possible outcome there. , as part of our commitment to accelerate and upgrade domestic electric vehicle battery production and move towards a greener future.”