Car battery firm Britishvolt goes flat with the loss of nearly 300 jobs

The firm, which was planning to build a £3.8billion gigafactory near Blyth, in Northumberland, had been racing to secure additional rescue funding or a sale of the business. EY, who were appointed joint administrators, described the collapse as “disappointing”, and said all impacted staff were being offered support.

Dan Hurd, a joint administrator and partner at EY, said the firm had offered “a significant opportunity” to create jobs and employment, as well as support the development of technology and infrastructure needed to help with the UK’s energy transition.

He added: “It is disappointing that the company has been unable to fulfil its ambitions and secure the equity funding needed to continue.”

Britishvolt’s board is believed to have decided at a lengthy meeting on Monday that there were no viable bids to keep the company afloat.

The Government-backed start-up has been developing the gigafactory in Northumberland, and received tens of millions of pounds of financial backing from metals giant Glencore.

But it fell into emergency funding talks in November after revealing it was close to entering administration and managed to secure funding to keep it afloat in the short term.

Ben Nelmes, the chief executive of motoring consultancy New AutoMotive, said: “The news that Britishvolt is filing for administration is deeply disappointing, and a blow to the UK’s transition to cleaner, cheaper transport.

“The UK urgently needs a green industrial strategy to prevent the trickle of bad news about the UK car industry turning into a torrent in a few years’ time.”

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake insisted the Government has not withdrawn any money from Britishvolt.

Darren Jones, the Labour chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, pressed the minister on Britishvolt’s collapse.

He told the Commons: “Britishvolt, the once valued £3.8billion-site of national importance for the production of electric vehicle batteries in our country is today going into administration.

“Does the minister agree with me that the future of UK car manufacturing relies on UK battery production? And if so, what is he going to do about it?”

Mr Hollinrake replied: “Again, he raises a very important point. It’s important to note that we have not withdrawn any money from Britishvolt but clearly taxpayers’ money is important. It’s important that we dispense that money in a responsible way.

“There were clear milestones we expect anybody who’s received public money to hit and we are looking at the situation very carefully to make sure they are.”

Industry experts say the UK will need several battery factories to support the future of UK car making.

The Government plans to ban the sale of new cars powered by diesel and petrol engines by 2030.


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