Councils and police urged to buy UK vehicles by Unite

Councils and police urged to buy UK vehicles by Unite

02 July 2013
Local councils and police forces should make every effort to buy UK-built vehicles, a top union leader will tell The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in London today (Tuesday, 2 July).

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke will say that the UK auto industry has been transformed in the past five years with a massive commitment made by the skilled workforce after a long, traumatic period.

He will also say that Unite, the country’s largest private sector union, would continue ‘to bang on’ about a UK procurement policy and a commitment for the “supply chain” to be brought back to the UK.

In a speech at the 14th SMMT Sustainability Report launch, Tony Burke will say: “Unite believes that there is no reason, at all, why public authorities cannot purchase vehicles made here in the UK. 

“Do we see German police forces buying anything other than BMW or Mercedes?

“It has been said time and again that we need to get our public sector organisations who purchase vehicles, whether that is local authorities or police forces, to buy our UK-made vehicles.

“I know that we are often told we can’t do this ‘because of EU rules’ and there is probably no bigger supporter of the continuing support for the European Union than myself.

“But I believe it is essential that we promote our own vehicles: designed in the UK; built in the UK and sold in the UK.”

Tony Burke will also say there was ‘a lack of specialised career service in schools’ at a time of a looming skills shortage. Engineering UK has said that by the time today’s primary school pupils start work, the UK will need more than two million additional skilled engineers.

“The reality is that if we don't take steps now - employers tell us that they will look for them abroad. That could have devastating repercussions for the UK economy.”


For further information please contact Tony Burke on 07831 659939 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.