In a win for Brexit Britain, the Business Secretary tweeted: “We’re backing the @BritishVoltUK Gigafactory! “Britain needs a domestic source of batteries for electric vehicles. Gigafactories are the answer!”
UK battery company Britishvolt has received an in-principle offer of funding via the Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund for the planned facility near Blyth, Northumberland.
The Government expects its backing for the scheme to help unlock up to £2bn in support from private investors and generate 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs as well as 5,000 supply chain jobs.
Although the Government has not confirmed the amount, it is understood the Treasury is to put up £100million in funding the scheme which is being promoted as putting the UK “front and centre” of a global, green industrial revolution.
Martin Daubney, deputy leader of the Reclaim Party, tweeted: “Project Fear: The British car industry will be wiped out by Brexit!
“Project Reality: £3.7 billion Britishvolt gigafactory to help power electric car future, creating 8000 jobs.”
Britishvolt said the plant would require £3.8 billion to set up and start production with the building itself costing £1.7 billion.
The firm first announced in December 2020 its plan to build on a 93-hectare site where Britain’s largest coal-burning power station, Blyth Power Station, once stood.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Britishvolt’s plan to build a new gigafactory in Northumberland is a strong testament to the skilled workers of the North East and the UK’s place at the helm of the global green industrial revolution.
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“Backed by Government and private sector investment, this new battery factory will boost the production of electric vehicles in the UK, whilst levelling up opportunity and bringing thousands of new highly skilled jobs to communities in our industrial heartlands.”
Mr Kwarteng said: “You’re looking at 8,000 jobs – high quality and high paid jobs for people in this area. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”
Real estate fund manager Tritax and investment giant abrdn are to help fund the build as well as to develop a park for businesses supplying the factory.
Peter Rolton, Britishvolt’s Executive Chairman, said: “This announcement is a major step in putting the UK at the forefront of the global energy transition, unlocking huge private sector investment that will develop the technology and skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution.
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“The news is the first step in creating a commercialised battery ecosystem that perfectly aligns with the existing R&D ecosystem.
“Britishvolt will be the anchor for attracting further sections of the supply chain, be it refining or recycling, to co-locate on the Britishvolt site.”
He added sites have already been selected for developments in other countries.
Mr Rolton said: “This is a truly historic day and marks the start of a truly exciting move towards a low carbon future.”
The UK is wooing investors to safeguard the future of its car plants as the industry shifts towards manufacturing electric vehicles.
Sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK are due to end in 2030.