Written Ministerial Statements — Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Energy Policy (21 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: As set out to the House in the statement of 6 December 2018, the European Commission was expecting to make its initial decision regarding the UK Capacity Market in early 2019. The Commission have today confirmed that they are moving onto the next phase of its investigation into the Capacity Market. This is an important first step as we work to reinstate State aid approval for the Capacity...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I will indeed, and I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. I and my colleagues are in frequent dialogue with the SMMT and all the companies that are part of the industry. It seems to me—he knows this from his time in the Department—that having a close understanding of the requirements of job creators is an essential feature of a successful industrial strategy. We know from them what is...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: For over 30 years, Japanese companies investing in our automotive sector have been able to count on a bipartisan commitment to talking about the advantages of investing in Britain: our skills, our commitment to innovation and the efficiency of our operations. Members on both sides of the House know that I and my colleagues have worked intensively, including with trade unions, to ensure that...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: It will. This is one of the big advantages of the agreement. The industry and individual firms have been very clear that this is one of the reasons why they have endorsed it.

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I acknowledge my right hon. and learned Friend’s contribution as part of a succession of Ministers on both sides of the House who have given confidence to investors from Japan and around the world. A particular admiration has been accorded to Britain for the stability and predictability of our arrangements. In a turbulent world, the sense of continuity that we have been able to offer,...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his remarks and the tone in which he expressed them. I will certainly keep the House informed about the taskforce’s progress. We should bear in mind that there are two years in which the workforce will continue to be employed. It is important that the sales in Swindon should continue so that their jobs can be secure. During that time, I want to find...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I do take it at its word; it is only fair to do so. However, as it departs, I reflect on the words it has given to me and to Committees of this House based on its experience of the requirement to avoid changes in our trading relationship with Europe that would introduce frictions. It has said those words on the record, and they are as valid today as at the time when it said them during the...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: My right hon. Friend is correct in pointing that out. As I said in my statement, the company has decided to consolidate its production, in this instance, in Japan, and the consequences for Turkey and the Swindon plant are the same. That also draws attention to the fact that free trade agreements, important though they are, do bring about changes themselves and are associated with decisions...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: What I would say to my hon. Friend is that we are talking about Honda’s plant in Swindon and that most of its output is not diesel but petrol vehicles, which go all around the world. Automotive companies are increasingly reflecting the much more rapid global shift to new powertrains than was expected a while ago. I think advantage comes from being in the vanguard of that change, rather than...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I agree with my right hon. Friend. Although Brexit uncertainty was not cited as one of the factors in the decision, it is evident in investment decisions in the whole industry. I know from regular conversations with investors that it does bear on their minds. Last time I was in the House, I mentioned that Nissan has said that the political uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit, or what kind of...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: As I said in my statement, this is a time of change and challenge, but also of opportunity for the automotive sector. I have been proud that in the two or two and a half years since the referendum, notwithstanding the concerns that have always been expressed to me—it is the first thing people have said when I have met boards—we have won every single competitive automotive decision that...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: It is evidently the case that we should be part of a free trade agreement with Japan, and we should avail ourselves of the one that has been negotiated with the EU, unless and until it is replaced by a better one. Notwithstanding the disruption that free trade can sometimes cause, I am strongly of the view that, as a nation, we prosper from being a nation of free trade, and I think the right...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: Like my hon. Friend, I pay tribute to our colleagues, my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Swindon and my right hon. Friend the Member for Devizes, whose commitment to the success of the economy in Wiltshire is unflagging. My hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire (James Gray) is absolutely right to refer to the fact that the...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: The hon. Lady makes an important point. It is, of course, the direct employees of the company who are affected, but also the employees of companies that supply it. I have that very much in mind. In the work of the taskforce, I will strongly recommend that they are—there is no doubt they will be—prominent in its concerns. Through the Automotive Council, which I chair, we work with the...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I agree with the hon. Gentleman when he describes the reality of how the automotive industry successfully trades in this country. It is based on a just-in-time system of production, which has been very well calibrated over the years to make us very efficient. That has been communicated not just to me but to Select Committees of this House. It is clear, and it has been much debated, as the...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I agree with the hon. Lady that the environment in which investment decisions take place affect all businesses, not just those in the automotive sector. That is why I have taken pains to remind the House of what the leaders of the industry say, which is that we should conclude these matters on the lines of the deal that has been negotiated. It is in her hands to contribute to that resolution.

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: Of course I completely respect—everyone has to respect—the reasons that have been given for the decision, but I am pretty familiar with this industry and others, and there are a number of factors. I report to my hon. Friend truthfully that on the minds of many investors around the world is an anxiety caused by a lack of knowledge as to what our trading relationships will be with our most...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: I am very proud of our automotive industry. It has all the attributes the hon. Gentleman ascribes to it. I am proud of the workforce. I am proud of the workforce in Swindon in particular. This is no reflection on their calibre, their commitment and their ingenuity. Far from the automotive industry being an industry that we can or should do without, it is one of the prime opportunities we...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: The decision we took to position this country at the leading edge of the new automotive technologies—battery technology and connected and autonomous vehicles—is evidently the right one, because the pace of change, as has been made clear by Honda today, is faster than even it expected just two or three years ago. If we sustain our commitment through the industrial strategy to make sure...

Honda in Swindon (19 Feb 2019)
Greg Clark: As my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford) said earlier, we are the second country in the EU in terms of take-up of electric vehicles. I do not think the hon. Lady will find anyone in the industry who doubts the commitment my colleagues and I make to our industrial strategy and advancing that leadership. That is noted not just in this country, but around the world. As I said...


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