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PM charges ahead with plan to electrify embattled car-makers | Business News



Theresa May will pledge to offer new financial support for Britain’s embattled automotive sector in one of her final efforts to cement an economic legacy before she leaves Downing Street.

Sky News has learnt that executives from BP, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Tesla will meet the prime minister to discuss the provision of export finance guarantees to companies playing a role in the car industry’s electrification.

Sources said on Monday the proposal would be among a package of measures discussed with industry bosses at the meeting.

A number of export loan guarantees to individual companies are expected to be announced following the talks, they added.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Chief Executive Officer Ralf Speth speaks during a news conference to announce Tata Motors' quarterly results in Mumbai, India, November 9, 2017
Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth is expected to be among industry bosses at the meeting

The support is expected to focus on companies involved in exporting electric vehicle charging technology, electric engines and vehicles.

The size of any financial package was unclear ahead of the discussions.

The meeting will take place just days before Mrs May steps down, and little more than a week after JLR said it would build new electric vehicle models at its Castle Bromwich plant in the Midlands.

That announcement provided a major boost to an industry which has been left reeling this year by a series of decisions by car-makers to scale back their operations in Britain, with consequences for thousands of jobs.

Nissan has decided to build its new X-Trail SUV in Sunderland, while Honda’s proposal to close its Swindon plant in 2021 was a devastating blow to the industry.

More recently, Ford said it would shut its Bridgend engine plant next year, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

Last week, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that sales of low-emission cars had fallen in June, representing the first monthly decline in more than two years.

A No 10 spokeswoman confirmed that the meeting with automotive and energy sector bosses would discuss “ways that the government and industry can work together to support electrification” but declined to give further details.

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