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Britishvolt enters administration – “Grim day” for UK automotive sector says union


North East battery start-up Britishvolt has collapsed into administration, with most of its 300 staff made redundant with immediate effect.

Employees were told the news at an all-staff meeting on Tuesday morning after the board decided there were no viable buyers for the proposed $4bn “gigafactory,” which was expected to create 8,000 jobs, during talks this week.

The planned giant factory was said to be crucial to the long-term future health of the UK’s car building industry, and UK manufacturing more generally, and had been promised £100m of funding during Boris Johnson’s premiership. That funding never materialised as the firm failed to hit construction targets after repeated delays.

Unite national officer for the automotive sector Steve Bush said: “This is a grim day for the North East and for the just transition to the electrification of the nation’s automotive sector.

“The complete lack of a competent industrial strategy by the government to protect jobs in the UK automotive sector is becoming potentially more catastrophic by the day.

“It is extraordinary that despite the UK automotive sector being required to move to the production of electric vehicles, there are still no UK stand-alone factories making the batteries that are required. The demise of Britishvolt means there are not even any in the pipeline.”

The UK currently only has one, Chinese-owned automotive battery factory next to the Sunderland Nissan factory, and none now under construction. A total of at least 35 plants are currently either planned or already under construction in the EU. Britishvolt had also planned to open a battery development centre in Warwickshire.

Britishvolt’s administrators, EY, said they would now explore options for a sale of the business and assets.

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