Jaguar Land Rover to create thousands of jobs with UK electric battery 'giga-factory'

18 July 2023, 20:05

Jaguar Land Rover is set to launch a new giga-factory
Jaguar Land Rover is set to launch a new giga-factory. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Jaguar Land Rover is set to build an electric battery 'giga-factory' in Somerset, creating thousands of jobs.

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The car firm's owners Tata is set to confirm the news on Wednesday after weeks of speculation, with the factory to be built in Somerset.

The new plant would create 9,000 new jobs, and the government will hope it paves the way for more electric battery factories in the UK. Ministers have pledged to phase out sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and are pushing for a broader transition to net zero by 2050.

The factory would be just the second of its kind in the country, after Nissan's electric battery plant in Sunderland.

Tata had reportedly also been considering Spain as a venue for the factory. It is not yet known how much money the Government offered Tata to secure the plant for the UK.

Read more: Nissan announces £1bn electric car 'gigafactory' in Sunderland

Read more: Final farewell to Ford Fiesta as production ends after nearly five decades

Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover. Picture: Alamy

Jonathan Reynolds, shadow business secretary, said: "Labour welcomes any investment in British jobs and industry and decisions like these vindicate Labour's advocacy of an industrial strategy in place of scattergun announcements.

"In spite of the Government's cack-handed approach to industry and our economy this shows the strength of the UK automotive industry.

"Labour has been clear the public and private sector working together is the only way we can transition industry to keep the jobs of the future on our shores for decades to come.

"That's why a Labour Government will go further with a proper industrial strategy, investing in eight gigafactories and delivering clean energy by 2030.

Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover. Picture: Alamy

"Our plans for the car industry will deliver 80,000 additional jobs and billions in economic growth ensuring announcements like this aren't a one-off but the basis for a growing economy with good jobs in our industrial heartlands."

Labour MP Darren Jones, who chairs the Business and Trade Committee, said: "The decision by JLR to invest in battery production in the UK is very welcome.

"We will want to reflect, however, on the subsidy package that was required to secure this decision and if this approach is scalable to meet the need for further battery manufacturing sites for other car companies across the UK."

Reports have indicated that the gigafactory will be located at the Gravity business park, a 616-acre site currently under construction near the M5 motorway near Bridgwater.

Quentin Willson, founder of campaign group FairCharge, said: "While this is a very significant development for UK battery manufacturing, I truly hope that other companies in the battery, critical minerals, charging and EV supply chains won't be neglected.

"The Government should see this subsidy as the beginning of building a battery ecosystem in this country.

"There is a genuine fear in the industry that it could sweep up all available government support, which would be hugely detrimental to the future health of the UK in the race to zero.

"We have some world class battery and EV talent and we must support them as much as we can to prevent this valuable resource of innovators moving to other more receptive markets."

Greenpeace UK's senior climate campaigner, Paul Morozzo, said: "This is a significant moment for the UK car industry and a signal that the Government has finally started the engine in the international clean technology race, while others are speeding ahead.

"But the Government must stick to its laudable commitment to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, sign off on the regulations to deliver it, and ignore attempts by siren voices to derail the EV transition.

"Failing to do so would mean waving goodbye to any meaningful electric vehicle manufacturing sector in the UK, regardless of this new gigafactory, which would put domestic car manufacturing as a whole in jeopardy."