Proposed UK gigafactory in doubt as government pulls funding
UK battery firm Britishvolt may fall into administration within the next week after the government was reported to have withdrawn an agreed £100 million funding pledge.
The investment was set to assist Britishvolt’s plans for a factory in Northumberland, Blyth, where the proposed site was set to produce batteries for electric vehicles.
The so called gigafactory – which is not yet built – was also expected to create 3,000 direct highly skilled jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs in the wider supply chain.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the project the greenlight earlier this year, which encouraged investment from private investors including UK assets investment giant Abrdn and fund manager Tritax.
At the time, Johnson said the new factory would be at “the helm of the global green industrial revolution.”
Yet further investment failed to materialise, and the firm has struggled with “difficult external economic headwinds including rampant inflation and rising interest rates” which forced it to postpone production until 2025.
It was reported that, after learning that a third of the government money would be used to help the firm stay afloat rather than build the factory, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy decided to withdraw all funding.
It is understood that Britishvolt has been holding “urgent” talks over the past few months in a bid to secure fresh investment.
A spokesperson from the EV firm told the BBC that the company was “aware of market speculation” and was “actively working on several potential scenarios that offer the required stability”.
While it’s unclear whether the project will still go ahead, the UK is still set to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030.
The news follows UK PM Rishi Sunak’s decision not to attend the Cop27 Climate Summit, despite having promised to protect the environment.
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter