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UK auto manufacturing ready for restart: SMMT

Xinhua News,LONDON
2020-05-14 23:40

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LONDON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Britain's automotive manufacturing sector is ready to get production lines rolling again with the publication of new sector-specific safety guidance, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said Thursday.

"The best-practice advice will help to ensure all automotive production sites are safe spaces for workers, controlling the risk of transmission (of COVID-19)," said the SMMT.

The fresh guidance covered the "complete automotive manufacturing environment, including workstations, staff entrances, car parks, shared offices, meeting rooms and communal areas," said the body.

The targeted industry guidance came after the government outlines a phased easing strategy from the novel coronavirus lockdown and general workforce guiding principles a few days ago.

"Developed together with vehicle and supply chain manufacturers it is designed to complement government guidance for the overall UK manufacturing sector and help automotive manufacturers, from SMEs to large enterprise, implement legal requirements as part of individual risk assessments in line with their unique business operations," said the SMMT.

The sector group stated that production lines currently "are gradually beginning to roll again", despite "at a much slower pace" and with subdued market demand.

"The coronavirus crisis has taken a heavy toll on the automotive industry but, as lockdown measures begin to ease, at last there is some light at the end of the tunnel," said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

"However, to accelerate this crucial sector's recovery we need all parts of the jigsaw to be in place, starting with the reopening of automotive showrooms to drive essential market demand," added Hawes.

Apart from the manufacturing workforce safety guidance, a new industry guidance for aftermarket providers was also released Thursday, said the SMMT. The guidance covers the entire aftermarket sector, including workshops, warehouses, mobile operations and parts distributors.

"MOT (Ministry of Transport) testers and service and repair sector ready to welcome back more customers with comprehensive COVID-19 safety measures across all points of interaction," added the body.

Automotive is Britain's single biggest exporter of goods, trading with some 150 countries worldwide, and accounting for more than 14 percent of total exports. The sector directly employs 168,000 people, delivering an annual 18.6 billion pounds (about 22.7 billion U.S. dollars) to the public purse, according to the SMMT.
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