The statement made by Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in the House of Commons on 6 July 2021.
I am delighted to welcome the confirmation by Stellantis of a transformational investment at its Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, which will see the site become the first mass volume, fully battery electric vehicle plant in the UK and Europe. Stellantis have committed to investing more than £100 million to transition the plant to produce a new generation of electric vehicles, safeguarding the future of the site and its supply chain for the next decade.
This announcement demonstrates that our net zero ambitions are being welcomed and matched by business, as we work towards increasing the manufacture of electric vehicles in the UK. The Government are committed to ensuring we continue to be one of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing and are working closely with the sector to make sure it remains competitive, attracts investment, and protects and creates jobs.
Just over six months ago we presented the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, setting an ambitious road map for transforming our economy, unlocking investment and levelling up the regions. The plan included a commitment to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. The decision by Stellantis to invest in electrification in the UK, alongside recent announcements by Nissan and Envision in Sunderland, are excellent illustrations of business and the Government working together to achieve decarbonisation within the sector.
I was pleased to inform the House in June of the strong consumer growth over the past year, which our strategy is helping to drive. As of March 2021, battery electric vehicle sales stood at 7.7% of the market, up 88% on a year earlier, while plug-in hybrid vehicles sales were 6.1%, an increase of 152%. Changing consumer habits such as the way we shop have also driven a strong increase in demand for light commercial vehicles, and this announcement will help transition the fleet with a new vehicle produced here in the UK. This investment will grow domestic production of electric commercial vehicles, help reduce our reliance on imports and play an important part in reducing emissions in towns and cities across the country.
I am sure Members will agree that this is an important announcement for Cheshire, Merseyside and the north-west of England, which secures the continued presence of a key anchor for the local and regional economy. This significant investment has been secured thanks to a strong partnership approach between Stellantis and the Government, alongside Cheshire West and Chester Council, and the Cheshire and Warrington local enterprise partnership to maximise the benefits of the transformation of the plant to the wider local economy.
This news will be welcomed by the workforce at Ellesmere Port and is a testament to their skills and hard work. The Ellesmere Port plant has been a crucial part of automotive manufacturing in the UK since it first opened nearly 60 years ago. This announcement means that that milestone will be marked next year with the production of its first all-electric vehicle—building a sound future on Vauxhall’s proud legacy.
Today’s announcement is further proof that there is a bright future for automotive manufacturing in this country. The Government are committed to supporting this transition including £500 million to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, as part of a wider commitment of up to £1 billion. As Secretary of State I will continue to champion the sector, ensuring that we make the most of the opportunities of the transition to zero-emission vehicles and attract further investment, boost innovation and sustain tens of thousands of jobs in manufacturing and the supply chain.