WESTMINSTER DIARY: Protecting Jaguar Land Rover jobs is priority - The Solihull Observer

WESTMINSTER DIARY: Protecting Jaguar Land Rover jobs is priority

Solihull Editorial 15th Dec, 2018   0

Following the announcement by JLR of further job losses locally, I want to commiserate with the workers and their families. It is very unfortunate that this announcement comes so close to Christmas.

The uncertainty around Brexit is, of course, a significant concern for car-makers who are concerned that No Deal would cost them £4.5bn in tariffs. West Midlands’ MPs meet regularly with JLR to discuss the challenges they face and we are trying to do all we can to support the automotive sector in our region. JLR encouraged MPs of all parties to support the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration to protect jobs and livelihoods. JLR made it clear to MPs that leaving with no deal would cause unnecessary economic damage.

In addition to Brexit, JLR are badly affected by the diesel ban which will take effect from 2040 as people hang onto their older diesel vehicles rather than trade them in for the new generation of cleaner diesel cars. In fact, the new EU6 standard diesels are no more polluting than petrol engines and they offer the advantage of more miles per gallon which helps to tackle climate change. In the recent budget, the Chancellor did recognise this in revising Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates but more will need to be done to restore consumer confidence.

The way that Birmingham City Council is proposing to differentiate between old and new diesels in its low emission zone is an example of how this can be done. In the House of Commons I recently urged Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to promote this approach to other local authorities as it will help clean up the air in our cities.

The automotive industry is working hard to produce cleaner engines on its trajectory to move towards electric vehicles. However, this change cannot happen overnight; it will require continued research and investment which in turn must be supported by strong business performance.

The car industry needs to be supported in its transition to low emission vehicles. The contribution that clean, modern diesel and petrol technology can play in cleaning up our region’s air quality and combatting global warming must be recognised.


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