With the news today (Tuesday 6 July) that an electric van is to be built at Stellanis's Ellesmere Port site in Merseyside, Unite, the country's leading automotive union, is calling for the UK government, utility companies and businesses to now “get the orders rolling in” to buy green, buy local and buy British.

After months of lobbying by Unite, Stellanis has agreed that the plant will build the UK's first electric Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) – a massive breakthrough for the domestic business vehicle market.

Until now, UK businesses and the government have had to buy green vans from overseas manufacturers. 

The move will secure 1000 direct jobs and should further cement the UK as a volume producer of electric vehicles, coming days after Unite helped to secure the UK's first electric battery plant at Nissan in Sunderland.

Steve Turner, Unite's assistant general secretary for manufacturing, said: "Unite has always believed that the Ellesmere Port site had a bright future.

"Unite and our plant representatives have long made the business case for that future to be electric vehicles, both to the board and to the Secretary of State for BEIS, Kwasi Kwarteng, and we're delighted our calls have been acted upon.

"This is great news for a world class workforce and their brilliant reps who never gave up for a moment. It is a richly deserved investment in their futures and will place Ellesmere Port as the leading manufacturer of green LCVs in this country.

"Now we need to get the orders rolling in – and to step up construction and installation of the rapid-charge infrastructure needed to run from the top to the toe of the country.

"I've been talking with government agencies and businesses for years now about investment in and support for UK automotive manufacturing. They have been crying out for a home-produced electric vehicle and it has been ridiculous that until now they've had to take their business overseas because they couldn't get a UK product.

"They now have one so there can be no excuses. So, I call on UK business and the government to get behind a great brand. Use your procurement and investment pound to place orders for these vans so that our post office, police, councils and utility companies can drive fantastic vehicles made here in the UK.  

"Support skilled UK workers, their families and our communities, as well as our planet."  

Unite has been campaigning for government and industry support for auto manufacturing and manufacturing in the UK more generally. The union has consistently called for the UK to commit to the infrastructure so urgently needed to capitalise on the green manufacturing revolution, including a further six giga-factories and the high-value components and anodes and cathodes, that are central to the successful transitioning of the economy.

ENDS

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