Government to Move May Bank Holiday in 2020

Greg Clark

The Government has confirmed that the 2020 May Bank Holiday will be moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May in a bid to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, said in a statement:

“VE Day marked an historic moment in not only our nation’s, but the world’s history and it is important that we commemorate this great occasion on its 75th anniversary. Honouring those who did their duty – whether on the battlefields of Europe or through their efforts and sacrifices here at home.

Moving next year’s early May bank holiday to VE Day itself is a right and fitting tribute. It will ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to remember and honour our heroes of the Second World War and reflect on the sacrifices of a generation.”

Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for Defence said:

“As we’ve seen over the past week with the D-Day commemorations, the British people truly appreciate the sacrifice made by those who fought for our freedom throughout the Second World War. Moving next year’s Bank Holiday will give us the opportunity to come together to remember and honour those who gave so much to secure our freedom and liberty.”

Honda Cut 3,500 Jobs in Swindon

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, has said that the announcement by Honda of 3,500 job losses is “devastating” and pledged Government help for the Swindon area. Honda said that the job losses weren’t Brexit related and was instead because of global market changes.

Clark said in a statement:

“Honda have announced, as part of a global restructuring, plans to close their Swindon plant in 2021; and instead manufacture and export the new Civic model into Europe from Japan. As Honda have said, this is a commercial decision based on unprecedented changes in the global market. Regardless, this is a devastating decision for Swindon and the UK.

This news is a particularly bitter blow to the thousands of skilled and dedicated staff who work at the factory, their families and all of those employed in the supply chain.

I will convene a taskforce in Swindon with local MPs, civic and business leaders as well as trade union representatives to ensure that the skills and expertise of the workforce is retained, and these highly valued employees move into new skilled employment.

The automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transition to new technology. The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now.”

Rebecca Long Bailey, the Shadow Secretary for Business, said in a statement:

“This is devastating news, first and foremost for Honda employees and their families, but also for the jobs across the supply chain and the impact on the local economy in Swindon.

This government has failed to create an environment of business confidence. The Tories’ austerity programme has failed workers and businesses, and they continue to show a total lack of vision or plans for investment in our future.

With Honda saying Brexit was not a factor, this Tory government shoulders yet more responsibility for failing to create an environment of business confidence. Businesses have lost faith in the government’s austerity programme and total lack of vision or investment for our future.”

Nissan Cut Investment Over Brexit Uncertainty

Nissan have confirmed that they are scrapping a multi-million pound investment in Sunderland following continued Brexit uncertainty. The new next-generation X-Trail car was to have been built in the city following an announcement which was made in 2016, but which has now been reversed.

In a statement Nissan said:

“Nissan Motor Company Ltd. today announced that the next-generation X-Trail for the European market will be produced in its Kyushu plant in Japan. This model was previously planned for production in Sunderland, UK, as announced in 2016.

Since that time, Nissan has increased its investments in new powertrains and technology for its future European vehicles. Therefore the company has decided to optimise its investments in Europe by consolidating X-Trail production in Kyushu, the production hub for this global model. Other future models planned for Nissan Sunderland Plant – the next-generation Juke and Qashqai – are unaffected.”

Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy said:

“Nissan is investing heavily in new technologies and powertrains for the next generation of vehicles in our Sunderland plant. To support this we are taking advantage of our global assets, and with X-Trail already manufactured in Japan, we can reduce our upfront investment costs.

We appreciate this will be disappointing for our UK team and partners. Our workforce in Sunderland has our full confidence, and will continue to benefit from the investment planned for Juke and Qashqai. While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future.”

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said in a statement:

“Nissan’s announcement is a blow to the sector and the region, as this was to be a further significant expansion of the site and the workforce. The company has confirmed that no jobs will be lost. They have reiterated today their commitment to the UK by continuing to manufacture in Sunderland the current Qashqai, Leaf and Juke models and the new Qashqai model from 2020.

The UK automotive industry is a vital sector for the British economy which draws on our combination of rich automotive heritage and cutting edge innovation. Its role in providing high skilled well paid jobs, innovative R&D and investment is why we are determined to build on these strengths to make the UK a leader in the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles through the Automotive Sector Deal, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

Business Secretary Responds to Jaguar Land Rover Cuts

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has said that the decision of Jaguar Land Rover to cut 4,500 jobs “will clearly be a worrying time for Jaguar Land Rover employees and their families”. The company has recently confirmed that sales in China have fallen and that Brexit has created a climate of uncertainty.

In a statement, Clark said:

“Jaguar Land Rover have today confirmed plans to offer voluntary redundancy packages to their UK workforce as they reduce their global headcount. This is a commercial decision for the company but nevertheless it will clearly be a worrying time for Jaguar Land Rover employees and their families.

Jaguar Land Rover is a much valued British company with a talented and dedicated workforce. The Government has, and will continue, to work closely with the business to ensure that it can succeed long into the future as it invests and transitions to autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. On Monday, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and I will convene a Jaguar Land Rover Development Partnership meeting bringing together Jaguar Land Rover leadership, local MPs and representatives from the Midlands and the North West, supply chain, trade body and trades union representatives.

Jaguar Land Rover and its owners have made clear they remain firmly committed to the UK, continuing to invest billions and employing tens of thousands of people. This includes today’s announcement of investment in next generation electric drive units to be produced in Wolverhampton and a new battery assembly centre in Hams Hall. Building on last year’s investment in their key plants in Solihull and Halewood to build the next-generation of Land Rover models, including electric vehicles.

The UK is a world-leader in automotive manufacturing. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are building on those world beating strengths and investing in the future to put the UK at the forefront of the next generation of electric and autonomous vehicles.”

Jack Dromey, the Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, said:

“Areas like mine, of high poverty and unemployment… It’s nothing short of tragic that tonight there will be workers at home wondering what their future holds.”

Government Announces Support Package to Businesses Affected by Carillion’s Liquidation

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has announced that there will be £100 million of lending made available to smaller businesses adversely affected by the liquidation of Carillion. The money is being funded by the British Business Bank, which is wholly owned by the Government, in conjunction with high street lenders.

Clark said in a statement:

“We want to signal very clearly to small and medium sized businesses who were owed money by Carillion that they will be supported to continue trading. The banks have responded to my request by agreeing to support businesses and individuals affected. This further guarantee will help those businesses who may not be able to provide the usual security for a loan. I will continue to work closely with business organisations, trade unions and banks to actively support those affected by Carillion’s insolvency”.

Prime Minister to Meet with Business Leaders

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, is to meet with business leaders on Monday 13 November. The meeting will also be attended by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU and Stephen Barclay, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said in a statement:

“The Prime Minister will also reiterate her vision set out in Florence for a bold and deep economic partnership with the EU – one in which the UK continues to be a global, free trading nation and the strongest friend and partner to the EU.

Alongside colleagues from the Department for Exiting the EU, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Treasury, the Prime Minister will reflect on the historic strong relationship between European business and the UK – from BMW in Oxford building electric MINIs to Arla’s work with dairy farmers across Britain.

The government has been engaging with industry through the Business Advisory Council since July this year as a vital part of preparations for leaving the EU. But this is the first meeting where she will engage directly with leaders from EU Business Organisations.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for BEIS, will also set out the aims for the upcoming Industrial Strategy which will play a key role in UK’s free market economy delivering economic and social progress for everyone in society”.


Government Says Tower Hamlets Council has Made Progress


Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has said that progress has been made at Tower Hamlets council. The council had been placed in the hands of commissioners in December 2014 following serious allegations of mismanagement.

Clark said in a statement:

“In Tower Hamlets independent inspectors found a worrying pattern of divisive community politics and serious mismanagement of taxpayers’ money.

Intervention is never a decision taken lightly but it was essential that we took action to make sure public confidence in the council is restored.

Under the careful watch of the commissioners the Mayor is making progress but there must be sufficient evidence of real organisational change before I will consider handing any powers back”.

Government announces local government deal for next four years


Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has announced a new settlement with local councils which give them greater financial freedom.

The changes will allow local councils to set their budgets four years ahead with extra money being made available for social care in the community.

In a statement to the House of Commons Clark said:

“These are important times for local government. The devolution of power and resources from Whitehall is gathering momentum.

Today’s settlement means every council will have, for the financial year ahead, at least the resources allocated by the provisional settlement. In addition, we will provide transitional funding for the first 2 years of the Spending Review period for councils as they move from dependence on central government grants to greater financial autonomy.

The government will continue to keep bills down with Council Tax still expected to be lower in real terms in 2019 to 2020 than it was in 2009 to 2010″.

Jon Trickett, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, rejected the claims and said:

“It reminds me of nothing more than someone speeding along the road into a disaster who then says ‘I will take my foot off the accelerator’ without changing the destination. Because local government is facing a disaster”.

Government Announces an Additional £50 million to Help Flood Victims


Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has announced today an additional £50 million in funding to help councils deal with flood victims.

The money can be used by local authorities to help support local householders and businesses deal with some of the worst flooding seen over recent years. Clark said in a statement:

“No-one could fail to be moved by the scenes of devastation left in the wake of storm Eva – we’re determined to ensure all those affected get the support they need quickly.

That’s why today we’re extending government support to those communities by £50 million, matching the funding already announced for areas affected by storm Desmond.

As part of this, councils facing clean-up costs can be confident they will get the support they need through the extension of the Bellwin Scheme”.