A multi-billion pound electric car battery factory could be set up in Somerset - creating thousands of jobs.
ITV News West Country understands that Tata Group – the owner of carmaker Jaguar Land Rover - is getting ready to sign a deal which would see the new factory based in the UK instead of in Spain.It would mark an important milestone for Britain in terms of innovation and investment in the automotive sector.According to reports, Tata’s chairman is set to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the middle of next week.It is understood sources familiar with the matter said a deal has not yet been signed but it has taken a step forward with negotiations moving on to drafting an agreement.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last week hinted the deal could be imminent, saying: “All I would say is watch this space because we are very focused on making sure the UK gets that EV manufacturing capacity.”
A new Bridgwater-based plant could create up to 9,000 jobs, but a spokesperson for Tata did not have any comment on the reports.
It comes after Stellantis, one of the world’s largest carmakers, warned it will be unable to keep its commitment to making electric cars in the UK and could be forced to close factories without changes to the Brexit deal.
The Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot owner last week told a Commons inquiry into the supply of batteries for EV manufacture that its UK investments hung in the balance due to the terms of the trade deal.It stressed the need to “reinforce the competitiveness of the UK by establishing battery production in the UK”.Meanwhile, earlier this year a start-up called Britishvolt, which had promised to build a massive battery factory in the north-east of England, went out of business.The company had been seen as one of the UK’s biggest hopes in the battery sector but had no previous experience in producing batteries and could not secure the money it needed.