WESTMINSTER DIARIES: Prioritise green technology but not at expense of jobs - The Solihull Observer

WESTMINSTER DIARIES: Prioritise green technology but not at expense of jobs

Solihull Editorial 28th Apr, 2018   0


On Tuesday (Aptil 24), Julian Knight, solihull MP and I met with the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to highlight the recent news of Jaguar Land Rover’s decision not to renew the contracts of almost 1,000 agency staff in light of recent downturns in sales of diesel vehicles. We urged the Mr Gove to explore what action can be taken to support advancements in electric vehicle technology to benefit our automotive sector and, in doing so, relieve pressure on new, diesel cars and owners in the short term.

Upon learning of JLR’s announcement, I spoke at length with representatives from JLR to understand the reasons behind their decision and see what I, as one of the borough’s MPs, can do to try and help.

Many of JLR’s products currently use diesel engines – which is why I am keen to do all I can to help them rapidly adjust to the challenges brought on by the implementation of the EU’s Clean Air Directive (2008). Whilst we all recognise the need to tackle the issue of poor air quality, the new taxes and tariffs on diesel cars now stretch across 27 out of the 28 EU member states – an area which is also JLR’s single biggest export market.

We are beginning to see Brexit take shape and I am sure that the Prime Minister will succeed in securing a practical trading relationship with the EU which will provide greater economic stability and promote a more competitive international marketplace overall.

Continued research and development around new and greener technologies to help cut emissions will benefit consumers and promote confidence in the wider market. Having recently invested £5.6 million in researching electric vehicle charging infrastructure at Warwick University, I encourage the Government to continue to support research in this area.

We are fortunate to have a large and successful car company locally which has created thousands of jobs in our area, giving many people the chance of a career in skilful employment which is well remunerated. In this regard, Mr Gove promised to talk to the Business Secretary about what can be done to help support the car industry in making the transition to only manufacturing electric and hybrid vehicles, whilst still protecting as many jobs as possible.

Dame Caroline Spelman MP


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