Justin Madders is demanding action from the Government to support Vauxhall and the British automotive industry in the autumn budget.
In a private meeting with business secretary Greg Clark MP this week, Mr Madders discussed the recent announcement that 400 jobs are to go at the Ellesmere Port car making plant.
The Labour MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston emphasised the strategic importance of the manufacturing sector and the need for an “interventionist” approach from Government if the UK is to compete with the likes of Germany and France.
He also wants support the long-standing aspiration to bring more of the supply chain to Ellesmere Port, which would reduce costs and boost efficiency, as well as delivering a number of skilled jobs to the local economy.
Mr Madders said: “The Ellesmere Port factory remains of one of the most efficient of its kind anywhere in Europe, but when we are competing against other countries, we need more than just a highly skilled and productive workforce.
“The countries with whom we are competing pull out all the stops to support their manufacturing industries, including offering incentives to relocate the supply chain and working with the owners to optimise the local infrastructure. It’s also much more common to see the public sector purchasing in a way that supports local jobs in other countries than our own.”
Mr Madders said ministers “can’t afford to just sit on their hands and hope for the best any longer”.
He added: “A modern economy demands an active Government with a positive industrial strategy. I will continue to press the Chancellor to deliver the measures in the budget that our local area needs if it is to thrive. The budget later this month is the opportunity for the Government to show by its actions, not just words, that it supports British manufacturing.”
Vauxhall's owners, France's PSA Group, announced last month that they are cutting about 400 jobs from the Ellesmere Port plant – where about 1,800 workers are employed to make Astra cars – due to falling sales.
It is hoped all the departures will be voluntary but the Unite union has described the news as “extremely difficult to take”.
Mr Madders said: “There is also no escaping the fact that uncertainty around the plans for Brexit and the chaos at the heart of Theresa May’s Government have deterred companies like PSA from making long-term decisions about their future. We were promised a Northern Powerhouse, but it seems to have descended into a Westminster power struggle.”
In a separate move, the MP has written to the country’s 41 Police and Crime Commissioners to encourage them to procure British manufactured vehicles.
Cheshire Constabulary came under fire when it moved from locally made Vauxhall Astras to cheaper Hyundais, which are manufactured overseas, in 2012.
See full story in the Chester Leader