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21 May 2012
As part of a ten point plan to build on the recent successes in the UK automotive industry, Unite, Britain's biggest union, has called on public bodies to buy local to support UK automotive and components manufacturing.
A freedom of information request (see notes to editors) has found that despite there being a wide choice of high quality vehicle manufacturers in the UK 72 per cent of vehicles procured by police authorities were manufactured overseas.
Merseyside police procured 11.5% of their vehicles from UK based manufacturers but with only 8% of the total from Vauxhall.
West Midlands police procured 30% of their vehicles from UK based manufacturers but with only 2% of the total from Jaguar Land Rover.
Wiltshire police procured only 2% of their vehicles from UK based manufacturers.
Entitled Driving Growth, Unite has today (21 May) launched its strategy for the automotive industry in the UK (see notes to editors).
The document includes a ten point plan for building on the recent successes of the industry. Unite believes that a key element of boosting vehicle manufacturing must include a positive procurement policy encouraged by central government to buy vehicles manufactured in the UK. The public sector spends around £220 billion each year on procurement.
Unite national officer, Roger Maddison said:
"The government could boost demand at a stroke by introducing a procurement strategy to support UK motor manufacturing. It is outrageous that 72 per cent of police vehicles are built outside the UK. This would never happen in Germany or France. Public bodies in the UK should use their buying power to support UK manufacturing.
"An interventionist government could do so much to support jobs and skills in manufacturing. It is time for the government to listen to our demands because Unite understands manufacturing and the measures needed to support it."
Unite national officer, Tony Murphy said:
"The automotive industry employs 700,000 people, a superb workforce - making cars, world class buses and coaches, commercial vehicles and components - it is hugely important in re-balancing the economy.
"The UK needs to build on the current success of the automotive industry, learn lessons and apply them to other manufacturing sectors which are struggling because of a government which does not do enough. We need a strategic investment bank for manufacturing and the government has created untold problems by scrapping regional development funds.
"We also need a skilled apprenticeship system, such as they have in Germany which gives young people transferable skills for the future and to avoid skills shortages in the future."
Key recommendations from Driving Growth.
1) To campaign for employment rights which equal the best in Europe.
2) Improved rights to information and consultation with the workforce.
3)To lobby for a strategic investment bank in the UK which will ensure access to funding for all and especially for SMEs.
4) Government must reintroduce a system for regional development aid and assistance, the local enterprise partnerships are not working for industry.
5)To create a genuine and diverse supplier base within the UK to support manufacturing in the motor industry.
6) For government to acknowledge the economic opportunities there are for the UK economy in using the procurement process to buy goods and services from companies based in the UK.
7)To campaign for a comprehensive skills and training programme for the sector in an attempt to address the current and future skills shortages and gaps.
8) For government to provide the skills framework to enable all companies to recruit apprentices and that sustainable models for learning are used to ensure high quality training resulting in highly skilled workers.
9)To campaign to ensure the UK becomes a centre of excellence for the production of electric vehicles, batteries and engines.
10) To ensure government acknowledges the role of the Automotive Council in working extensively to promote the UK motor industry, the supply chain and the excellence of the workers within the industry.
The police procurement information cames from Freedom of Information requests listed on the web site called whatdotheyknow.com all evidence comes from requests made in 2011 or first quarter 2012.
Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.