Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivered a speech yesterday at the Science Museum in London, explaining his plans to prepare Britain for growth in sectors including environmental technology and advanced manufacturing. The aim is to help 500,000 people into work or training in an effort to stop unemployment from increasing further. Employers will be given up to £2,500 for every person they train who has been unemployed for more than six months.
SMMT welcomed the plan as a positive step towards supporting jobs in the automotive sector and a part of the proposed package for support proposed to Lord Mandelson on 27 November, but urged government to take further action to address the key issue of access to credit and finance.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said, “The automotive sector is supported by some of the most skilled workers in manufacturing and it is important that measures are taken to protect existing jobs. Freeing up access to credit will allow manufacturers to invest in retraining and upskilling current employees. 2009 will be another difficult year, but the industry faces these challenges stronger and more resilient than in recent memory. The extraordinary circumstances we currently face mean that government support will be required to take advantage of global economic growth when it returns.”
SMMT is working with its members to access the funding that has already been made available to the sector and is hosting an open forum event on 28 January to guide automotive companies through the myriad opportunities. A full description may be found here.