British car makers face a 50 per cent increase in energy costs this year, an industry body warned this a.m.
Analysis by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) stated that the sector’s annual energy bill – which is already £50m more than its European Union rivals – will rise by £90m in 2022.
UK electricity prices are the most expensive of any European automotive manufacturing country and 59% above the EU average, according to the SMMT.
That means UK firms could have saved nearly £50m if they were buying energy in the EU.
The additional cost of producing vehicles and components in the UK is putting manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage, the SMMT warned.
Speaking at the organisation’s annual summit in central London, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, parts shortages and trade uncertainty are “immense”, but addressing the UK’s high energy costs is “the industry’s number one ask”.
He went on: “Help with energy costs now will help keep us competitive and be a windfall for the sector, stimulating investment in innovation, R&D (research and development), training – all reinvested in the UK economy.
Hawes called on the government to deliver competitive prices for the wider automotive industry.
“With the right backing this sector can drive the transition to net zero, supporting jobs and growth across the UK and exports across the globe.”
The chief executive’s remarks came as Chancellor Rishi Sunak told automotive leaders the sector was “incredibly important to the UK economy.”