Embattled Boris Johnson urged to ‘make sure the cheque is in the post’ to guarantee future of Blyth gigafactory plans

Questions have been raised over plans for a major new car battery factory under construction in Northumberland.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 7th July 2022, 9:13 am
Updated Thursday, 7th July 2022, 9:55 am

The project, which is predicted to bring 8,000 jobs to the region, hit a major milestone last year when work started on the site in Cambois, near Blyth.

Government ministers have praised the scheme by tech firm Britishvolt, and earlier this year promised £100 million worth of investment into the gigaplant.

But almost a year after ground was broken on the manufacturing centre, concerns have been raised over when the promised cash will materialise.

An artist impression of the proposed Britishvolt gigaplant in Cambois.

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Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (July 6) at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), the future of the scheme was raised by Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery.

Addressing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has said he plans to quit as PM later today (Thursday), he said: “[In January], the government committed £100 million from the Automotive Transformation Fund to the Britishvolt gigafactory, in Cambois, in my constituency.

“And as of today, not a penny, not a single ha’penny, has been received by the company.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"It jeopardises up to 8,000 much-needed jobs.

"The tensions between the prime minister and the former chancellor have, sadly, now been much exposed.

"And I’m telling you, Prime Minister, the betrayal of my constituents cannot become another broken promise of this government.

"Prime Minister, give them a nudge, please, instruct your new bestie to make sure the cheque is in the post this afternoon, because who knows who will be in that seat later this afternoon, let alone next week.”

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck.

Once completed, the gigafactory is expected to employ 3,000 people directly, with a further 5,000 jobs created in the supply chain.

Responding to Mr Lavery, the Prime Minister said: “I totally share his enthusiasm and I want to thank my friend, the member for Blyth Valley, as well, who is an heroic campaigner on this issue.“I can tell you the letter was sent last night and in principal an offer of support for this project - hang on in there, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Responding following PMQs, a spokesman for Britishvolt said: “We are encouraged by the words of support from the Prime Minister for Britishvolt at PMQs and look forward to receiving the documents in the post as suggested.”