A £16 million programme is to be launched to help automotive suppliers affected by the planned closure of Honda’s car factory in Swindon.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark made the announcement after he set up a taskforce to save the plant following Honda’s plans to close the manufacturing facility in 2021 in response to “unprecedented” global changes and the need to launch electric vehicles (EVs).
The new National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels programme will offer support to small and medium-sized businesses who sell to the automotive sector.
They will be given advice on how best to evolve their products and processes to meet their customers’ future needs, which could include training for specialist staff, advice on the latest technologies available or help on accessing business loans to help them invest for the future.
The announcement comes as the Honda Swindon Taskforce brought together the government, civic leaders, local MPs, Honda workers, Unite the Union and sector representatives this week to discuss the case being compiled by the taskforce on why Swindon and the UK is the right place to invest in the production of new EVs.
Mr Clark said: “All of us on the Honda Swindon Taskforce are determined to keep pressing the case for Honda to remain in the UK while at the same time continuing to promote Swindon globally as a leading region for advanced manufacturers to invest in – with the expert companies in Honda’s supply chain a key part of Swindon’s offer.
“[The] meeting was an opportunity for local suppliers to meet taskforce representatives, as well as take part in a specialist session with my department and the Department for International Trade to identify opportunities to grow and compete here in the UK and overseas.”