Business Secretary Greg Clark and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street are to work together to protect carmaking jobs following the devastating news that Jaguar Land Rover is axing 4,500 staff.
Mr Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, announced that a “Jaguar Land Rover Development Partnership” will be formed, chaired jointly by him and the mayor.
Members will include Jaguar Land Rover managers, local MPs, other politicians from the Midlands and the North West, firms in the Jaguar Land Rover supply chain, trade body representatives and trade union officials.
Mr Clark said: “Jaguar Land Rover and its owners have made clear they remain firmly committed to the UK, continuing to invest billions and employing tens of thousands of people. “
The new body meets for the first time on Monday and will look at ways to ensure Jaguar Land Rover is able to succeed in the UK as it focuses on electric and self-driving vehicles.
It follows Jaguar Land Rover’s announcement that 4,500 jobs are to go worldwide, and that it is inviting UK staff to apply for voluntary redundancy.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “I am confident Jaguar Land Rover will be a critical part of our region’s future success.
“I know the Tata Group and Jaguar Land Rover are committed to manufacturing in the West Midlands and to developing a new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles.
“The billions of pounds invested in recent years, the current £500M investment in Solihull, and the new announcements today of the Battery Assembly Centre at Hams Hall and the investment in Electric Drive Unit production at Wolverhampton are clear evidence of that commitment.
“I am working closely with local authorities and the Government to support Jaguar Land Rover as they make the move to making electric and hybrid vehicles.
“In the last 18 months, we have supported the long-term future of the West Midlands car industry with significant public investments in the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, 5G and autonomous vehicle testbeds, and the UK Mobility Data Centre.
“We will look closely at the details of today’s announcement and take clear action to support Jaguar Land Rover’s future success.”
And Mr Clark said: “Jaguar Land Rover is a much valued British company with a talented and dedicated workforce. The Government has, and will continue, to work closely with the business to ensure that it can succeed long into the future as it invests and transitions to autonomous, connected and electric vehicles.
“On Monday, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and I will convene a Jaguar Land Rover Development Partnership meeting bringing together Jaguar Land Rover leadership, local MPs and representatives from the Midlands and the North West, supply chain, trade body and trades union representatives.
“Jaguar Land Rover and its owners have made clear they remain firmly committed to the UK, continuing to invest billions and employing tens of thousands of people.
“This includes today’s announcement of investment in next generation electric drive units to be produced in Wolverhampton and a new battery assembly centre in Hams Hall. Building on last year’s investment in their key plants in Solihull and Halewood to build the next-generation of Land Rover models, including electric vehicles.
“The UK is a world-leader in automotive manufacturing. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are building on those world beating strengths and investing in the future to put the UK at the forefront of the next generation of electric and autonomous vehicles.”
Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it is cutting 4,500 jobs globally.
The company said in a statement: “Jaguar Land Rover is expanding a business-wide organisation review aimed at reducing the size of its global workforce by around 4,500 people.
“This is in addition to the 1,500 who left the company during 2018.
“The next phase of this transformation programme will begin with a voluntary redundancy programme in the UK.
“This strategic review will create a leaner, more resilient organisation with a flatter management structure.”
The firm has major plants in Birmingham and Solihull.
Dame Caroline Spelman (MP for Meriden) and Jack Dromey (MP for Birmingham Erdington), who both have many JLR workers in their constituencies, said in a joint statement: “It is, of course, bad news that Jaguar Land Rover is being forced to make further job cuts.
“Since Tata took over the company in 2008, it has gone from strength to strength, creating thousands of jobs in Meriden, Erdington and across many other areas of the UK, transforming the lives of tens of thousands of local people.
“However, recent years have been difficult; falling sales in China due to global trade wars as well as changing consumer attitudes to diesel vehicles have been damaging.
“These difficulties have been compounded by the continuing uncertainty over Brexit. Unfortunately, as we get ever closer to 29 March, it becomes clearer that if we crashed out of the EU without a deal, announcements like today’s would become widespread and would be devastating for British manufacturing.
“We have tabled a joint amendment to Tuesday’s Meaningful Vote which gives the House of Commons the chance to reject No Deal and give stability to businesses across the UK.”