Liam Byrne, Labour’s Shadow Mayor for the West Midlands, has called on Ministers to make the West Midlands the home for a new car-battery making Gigafactory as part of the region’s economic recovery. Byrne’s call comes as the Labour Party challenges the government to ‘Build it in Britain’ and support the creation of 400,000 jobs - including in the crucial manufacturing sector - through a green recovery from the Covid crisis. Labour’s calls follow an extensive consultation with businesses, trade unions and other stakeholders around what a credible green recovery should look like, which received almost 2,000 responses. Byrne has organised a letter to the Prime Minister in a letter signed by all Labour MPs in the West Midlands sent in September, and has tabled an Early Day in Motion in Parliament to underline the call. In his letter, Byrne called on the Government, Conservative MPs, and the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands to back his call to build a Gigafactory, advanced by Coventry City Council, that will create hundreds of well-paid high-skilled green manufacturing jobs and help reduce CO2 pollution on the nation’s roads. Liam Byrne MP said: “We face a jobs emergency and a climate emergency - but if we take the right decisions now we can transform our economy, creating the jobs of the future and spearheading the transition to a low carbon world. “The West Midlands must be at the heart of this. We are the home of the UK automotive industry and we should be at the centre of the Green Manufacturing revolution. The Chancellor must use the Comprehensive Spending Review to commit to a new Gigafactory in the West Midlands. “Our region has the space available, the skills necessary and the appetite to take green manufacturing to the next level. All we need now is for the Government to step up and back our region”. ENDS
- Text of the Letter to the Prime Minister
Dear Prime Minister You have rightly identified the West Midlands as a global centre of battery technology for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and agreed to back the vision set out by our region, and our colleagues at Coventry City Council. At the core of battery industrialisation has to be the location and investment of one or more Gigafactories. With the existing multimillion pound government investment in the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry now open and operating, there is land next door for a Gigafactory available, with world leading business supporting the location due to the local skills and expertise, supply chain and easy accessibility right in the centre of the country. Now that at least one firm with plans to build a gigafactory has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Welsh Assembly Government we think it is now critical that you outline the next stages of building upon the West Midlands plan for a world leading plant, along with a timetable for action and the investment envelope the UK Government is prepared to make available. We look forward to an urgent reply and of course we stand ready to discuss this with you in person at the earliest opportunity.
That this House notes that the West Midlands was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution; notes that our country must now lead the Green Industrial Revolution; further notes that the West Midlands is a global centre of battery technology for Electric Vehicles, and is already home to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry; recognises that our future leadership in this industry requires in the West Midlands the creation of a Gigafactory; and calls on the Government to take immediate steps to outline the next stages of building a world leading plant, along with a timetable for action and the investment envelope the UK Government is prepared to make available.