The many challenges facing the UK automotive sector have only been further highlighted by this week’s manufacturing figures for September. It has been a turbulent year for our industry, what with continued Brexit uncertainty, regulatory upheaval and the drop in popularity of diesel compounding a general cooling in consumer demand.
The industry craves stability, and while the government has recognised the importance of an EU deal that maintains free and frictionless trade, delivering an agreement that can get through the various hurdles in Brussels and at home in Parliament is proving to be tough. We are all too aware that there are hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake from a ‘no-deal’ outcome, and we continue to impress on politicians the damage this would do on both sides of the Channel.
For now, we remain hopeful of a sensible Budget on Monday. It is, after all, in the Chancellor’s gift to provide a stimulus for the market, which has sustained more than one policy shock in recent months, and send the right signals to consumers and businesses that now is a good time to buy a new car.
There is a range of measures at the Treasury’s disposal, but the government should think particularly hard about the way recent policies have needlessly put off drivers from taking up diesel-engined cars and, of course, the astounding decision to cut the plug-in car grant from the very models that will help deliver the government’s own – and ambitious – environmental goals.
With our Annual Dinner rapidly approaching on 27 November, we’re pleased to announce this week that the Business Secretary will be joining us to give a keynote address. We know that Greg Clark is a supporter of the automotive industry in the UK and the dinner will be a timely opportunity to hear a voice from inside the government.
There are still tickets available for the Annual Dinner, but they are selling fast, so book soon to avoid any disappointment.