Tata Group is expected to announce plans to build a huge car battery plant in Somerset.

The news has come after weeks of speculation about the scheme which is expected to create thousands of jobs.

The new manufacturing plant will be built on a business park close to Bridgwater.

The owner of carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is building the car battery factory with the backing of £500m worth of government funding.

The Tata Group, which owns Jaguar Land Rover, has been in negotiations with the government for several months over the terms of the support package.

The batteries at the factory will be used for the new generation of JLR cars.

Tata had also considered locating the factory site in Spain but has opted for the the UK as a result of the government funding.

The Tata subsidy deal is expected to include grants to support to help pay for the construction of the huge factory along with investment in local infrastructure including the road network.

Car industry experts have described the news as the most important investment in UK automotive since Nissan arrived in Britain in the four decades ago.

Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow business secretary, welcomed the deal, saying it “shows the strength of the UK automotive industry”,

South West MP Darren Jones is the chair of parliament’s business and trade committee.

He said its MPs would examine the subsidies on offer to Tata.

He added: “We will want to reflect, however, on the subsidy package that was required to secure this decision and if this approach is scalable to meet the need for further battery manufacturing sites for other car companies across the UK.”

Quentin Willson, the founder of FairCharge, said:

“While this is a very significant development for UK battery manufacturing, I truly hope that other companies in the battery, critical minerals, charging and EV supply chains won’t be neglected.

“The Government should see this subsidy as the beginning of building a battery ecosystem in this country. There is a genuine fear in the industry that it could sweep up all available government support, which would be hugely detrimental to the future health of UK plc in the race to zero carbon.

“We have some world class battery and EV talent and we must support them as much as we can to prevent this valuable resource of innovators moving to other more receptive markets.”

Dr Andy Palmer, founder and chief executive of Palmer Automotive, added:

“As a long-time advocate for government support of the nascent UK battery industry, I, like any sensible onlooker, welcome the news.

“However, I also air caution and so should the industry. If UK dishes out the bulk of its battery-related support to one brand, then we still face likely car industry Armageddon. Support must come in all shapes and sizes for businesses of all shapes and sizes. One gigafactory doesn’t equal success, it equals part of the puzzle.

“We need a harmonious, collaborative, strategic industrial strategy that lifts all boats. Or the tide will sweep the UK automotive sector into the deep abyss.”

 

Source: The Business Desk

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